On 8/28/2010, a resident of Margate, FL, provided bottles of elemental mercury to several neighborhood children to play with. The children reportedly “squirted” each other with the mercury and dropped much of it on the ground outside of the residence; at least one partially filled bottle was reportedly dropped into the nearby canal. Weekend rains washed much of the outdoor mercury off the source location property, but several beads remain visible across the driveway and lawn. Later, the parents of the children discovered what had happened and one or more were taken to the hospital for screening. The local PD and FD responded on 8/30/2010.
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EPA TEL coordinated with FLDEP and local PD on 8/30/2010 (FD and Hazmat demobilized by late evening); local responders requested assistance from EPA, having no resources to conduct or oversee cleanup activities, however, FLDEP took the lead on 8/31/2010 and performed an assessment of the affected locations with a mercury vapor analyzer.
Based on FLDEP findings, EPA assistance was requested. OSC Alyssa Hughes and OSC Jose Negron were dispatched along with START and ERRS. Media interest is high.