On 3/6/2011 EPA received a NRC Report describing a release of approximately 5 lbs. of mercury in a residence located at 1943 Braswell Place, Lenoir, Caldwell County, NC. EPA arrived on scene at approximately 7 pm, EPA obtained access and issued CERCLA Letter of Federal Interest to property owner (Phillip Hahn). EPA observed approximately 5 lbs of mercury that had been spilled in the kitchen area. The source of mercury is a small glass flask topped with a cork. The flask was located in a cabinet in the kitchen. It is unknown how the spill occurred. The mercury was discovered by a friend of the homeowner who was residing at the home with his wife and three children (two toddlers and one infant). The friend noticed the spilled mercury in the cabinet and climbed on the counter to observe the extant of the spill. He claims that only himself and the property owner were in the kitchen at the time of the spill. He exited the area and called poison control. He claims that his wife and children did not enter the kitchen after the spill was noticed. It appeared that the homeowner had attempted to clean the mercury himself, mercury was visible in a trash can and on a broom and dust pan in the corner. Also rubber gloves were observed on the table. EPA conducted air monitoring using a LUMEX mercury vapor analyzer, mercury concentrations in the breathing zone, in kitchen were approximately 23 micrograms per cubic meter, temperature was 38 degrees. The homeowner and the other residents of the home were placed in a hotel by the Red Cross, a dog and bird were placed in a animal shelter by Animal Control.
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