GMA News Online

DOH hires experts to clean up mercury contamination in school

April 22, 2006 6:40pm
The Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday it has hired a technical team from the United States to supervise in the clean-up of areas at the St. Andrew's School in Sucat, Parañaque, that were contaminated with mercury.

A DOH official has assured the parents of students that all mercury contamination in rooms and other parts of the school’s premises will be cleaned up soon.

In February, the St. Andrew’s School was closed after a two-beaker amount of mercury spilled when some students performed an experiment.

Some 80 students and a teacher were exposed to high levels of mercury during the accident.

Eric Tayag of National Epidemiology Center said that the victims are not in critical condition.

Paranaque residents were worrying about mercury contamination in their area.

Japanese Dr. Masazumi Harada, a health expert, said in report on Friday that low mercury levels in the blood or hair does not necessarily indicate that the affected person is already safe from mercury poisoning.

"Chronic Minimata disease can occur due to long-term mercury poisoning even though the level is not above the recommended safe level," said Harada.

Mercury is a highly toxic metal, which can be absorbed by the lungs or skin.

High exposure to mercury vapor may cause acute poisoning, skin rashes, dermatitis, mood swings, memory loss, and mental disturbance and muscle weakness. Symptoms usually begin with cough, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, and upset stomach. –GMANews.TV
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