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EPA Region 7 Urges Parents to Contact Health Department Following Mercury Spill at Skate Park in Pittsburg, Kan.

Release Date: 09/30/2008
Contact Information: David Bryan, (cell) 816-896-0027, (office) 913-551-7433,; or Chris Whitley, (office) 913-551-7394,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., Sept. 30, 2008) - Parents of children who may have been exposed to toxic elemental mercury that was recently spilled on a Pittsburg, Kan., skate park are being strongly urged to immediately contact the Crawford County Health Department so that their children can receive health screenings.

Emergency responders from EPA Region 7, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Fire Marshal's Office, Pittsburg Police Department and the Crawford County Health Department were working together today to investigate and assess mercury exposures that may have resulted from the spill, which was reported late Monday at the Pitt Skate Park in Pittsburg's Schlanger Park.

According to reports, a man told police that a young boy poured some quantity of the toxic chemical on the playground. The contaminated area was roped off and will remain closed until a thorough decontamination process is completed.

Meanwhile, police and health authorities are working to identify any individuals who may have come into contact with the spilled mercury so that they can receive health screenings, and if necessary, so that any mercury-contaminated homes, clothing or belongings can be properly decontaminated or disposed.

Elemental mercury is a shiny, silvery metal that is liquid at room temperature. It is often found in thermometers, barometers, thermostats, electrical switches, and science labs. When dropped, it can break into smaller droplets that can migrate into cracks and crevices, and become attached to shoes, clothing or skin. Mercury can cause serious health effects, especially for young children, when its vapor is breathed, or when it comes into contact with skin.

Parents who think their children may have been exposed to mercury spilled at Pitt Skate Park are urged to keep their children confined, and immediately contact Janis Goedeke, Health Officer with the Crawford County Health Department, at 620-231-5411, to arrange for a health screening.

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