BAKERSFIELD, CA – Health officials are saying a mercury spill that happened two weeks ago may still be a danger to the public.
The spill was first reported July 21 at a home on Lincoln Street in northeast Bakersfield, where officials say a teenager found a container of the toxic substance near his home and ultimately spilled it inside his home.
According to a tenant of the home, the spill was very small. She believes the response from the hazmat team was overkill. Her family was scrubbed down and substantial amounts of property were taken out to a dumpster brought in for the cleanup. Everything from the carpets to clothing to family photo albums was seized, she said.
But officials from the Environmental Health Department said mercury is especially toxic to small children and pregnant women, but even adults can have health effects associated with breathing it in.
But some of the material escaped the quarantined area. Mercury from the home on Lincoln has turned up in three other locations so far, fire officials say.
Despite the mercury’s travels around Bakersfield, officials say only three people have been directly exposed to the toxin – all of whom live in the home.
Officials say they aren’t sure when they’ll be able to say the public health risk has been mitigated. They’re asking that anyone who believes they may have been exposed to mercury call the health department. Quick tests can be done to make sure your family is safe long before any professional cleaning crew would be needed.
As for the tenant at the house, she maintains that proper protocol was not followed and she says she plans to sue.