Mercury spill sends 10 East Valley HS students to hospital



Posted on May 9, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Updated Monday, May 12 at 8:45 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- East Valley High School was evacuated Friday morning after reports of a mercury spill.

Authorities said 10 students and four adults were taken to the hospital as a precaution. All were later released two hours later.

Capt. Jeff Bordell with the Spokane Valley Fire Dept. said a "very small" amount of mercury had leaked. Authorities said a student had brought the mercury to school. Investigators, however, were still not certain how the chemical was carried or how it had leaked.

A staff-member saw a student with mercury inside a classroom and a few students were passing it around.

The fire department said they have to be cautious whenever they deal with mercury since you can find it in many places around your home.

“As long as it doesn’t get through the skin tissue or is vaporized and inhaled, they’re relatively safe,” said Capt. Bordell.

The chemical appeared to be isolated to one room at the school, according to emergency crews. The area was quarantined.

East Valley High School officials sent nearly 1,000 students home for the rest of the day. The school district also called a hazardous materials cleaning company to remove the mercury.

Science Labs in area school used to have mercury but legislation passed several years ago in Washington that bans the substance from schools.

East Valley plans on having school back open on Monday.