Fri 3 Apr 2009
COLUMBUS PUBLIC HEALTH – MEDIA UPDATE FOR APRIL 2, 2009
Contact: Susan Geier (614) 402-2328 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mercury Contaminationâ€“Columbus Public Heaalth Investigating Possible Threat
Anyone Who Visited Store on April 1 Asked to Discard Shoes
WHAT: Columbus Public Health (CPH), in collaboration with Ohio EPA officials, have been monitoring a mercury contamination that took place on Wednesday, April 1, at the Volunteers of America on Indianola Ave. To date, we have monitored the testing of 9 individuals and 2 employeesÃ¢€™ vehicles. Currently, three employees tested showed low levels of mercury, and three others revealed higher levels so their shoes were collected.
As part of the investigation, health officials are asking everyone who visited the store on Wednesday, April 1 to bag and discard the shoes they were wearing. These shoes should be bagged, placed outside your home and subsequently in the trash. Should a patron have questions or additional concerns, please call 311 (645-3111) to get more information.
Columbus Public Health is taking this precautionary measure to protect the health and safety of our community. At this time, CPH believes the visiting public was at minimal risk of exposure.
WHO: Columbus Public Health, Ohio EPA and Volunteers of America
WHERE: Volunteers of America, 3620 Indianola Avenue
DETAILS: CPH learned Wednesday of a potential mercury contamination. The facility is closed and will remain closed until it has been cleaned and inspected.
Mercury is a hazardous element that can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled or ingested. Although mercury metal is a liquid at room temperature, it turns into a vapor in the air. Symptoms of acute mercury poisoning are headache, nausea and vomiting and difficulty breathing, including coughing up blood. No one has reported any symptoms of this nature and again, CPH believes the risk is low and we do not anticipate this exposure would cause these symptoms. If you still have questions, please contact 311 or 645-3111.
Additional information on mercury is available at the Columbus Public Health Web site at www.publichealth.columbus.gov .