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F.ood & H.ealth : Agri. & Environ. Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00


EPA to test homes for mercury contamination
By EPA
Sep 1, 2006, 17:09

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Press Release
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 2 - New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
290 Broadway, New York, NY 10007-1866
www.epa.gov/region2

EPA Will Test Homes that Could be Impacted by Mercury from Day Care Center in Gloucester

Contact: Mary Mears (212) 637-3673 mears.mary@epa.gov or Ben Barry
(646) 369-0064 barry.benjamin@epa.gov

(New York, NY -- September 1, 2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has offered to sample the homes of children and staff members who continue to show elevated levels of mercury exposure in their urine to determine if they may have brought mercury contamination home from the Kiddie Kollege Day Care Center in Franklin Township, New Jersey. Before EPA determines which homes it will sample, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will measure levels of exposure to mercury in the urine of children and staff members for the second time. Because mercury breaks down in the body within 60 days, and the known source of mercury the day care center was closed on July 28, 2006, the second round of samples will indicate if a child or staff member is being exposed to mercury, potentially in their home. EPA will then take confirmatory samples in the homes of individuals who continue to show elevated levels of mercury.

"Among the Bush Administration's highest priorities are educating our children and protecting their health and their environment," said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. "In implementing this program, we are furthering President Bush's mandates."

On August 7, 2006, NJDHSS took samples of urine from children and the day care center staff and found elevated levels of mercury in approximately 1/3 of the individuals sampled. NJDHSS and ATSDR initiated a second round of sampling this week and expect results within the next two weeks. EPA will contact homeowners of individuals that continue to show elevated levels of exposure to mercury to offer sampling. If additional sources of mercury are found in homes, EPA will work with its state and federal partners to determine the best course of action to protect the residents and address the contamination.

For more information on mercury: www.epa.gov/mercury/about.htm

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