Mercury spill at Lakeland Junior High

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Students were evacuated from a Lakeland Junior High School classroom Wednesday morning after an accidental spill of about one teaspoon of mercury.

The spill occurred at 10:20 in an eighth-grade science lab where students were learning about the periodic table, according to a news release from the school district.

Four students who were in the immediate vicinity of the spill were evaluated and released to their parents.

“As you know, our No. 1 priority is always the safety of our students. Now that the students have been cleared, our focus shifts to the building,” said an email message sent late Wednesday from the superintendent’s office. “The hazmat team will begin the process of testing the classroom and surrounding areas. This may take several hours, but notifications will be sent as we are updated. All bus routes, dismissal times, and after school activities remain on normal schedule.”

The regional hazardous material team, Department of Environmental Quality, Rathdrum Police and Northern Lakes Fire District all responded to the school.

Mercury is poisonous. Harmful effects to the brain, kidneys and lungs can develop depending on how much and for how long mercury vapor is inhaled, according to the U.S. Agency for Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. For more information, visit www.atsdr.cdc.gov/dontmesswithmercury.

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