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J Public Health Med. 2001 Mar;23(1):18-22.

Mercury contamination incident.

Author information

  • 1Chemical Incident Response Service, Medical Toxicology Unit, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Trust, London. rachel.maclehose@sessex-ha.nthames.nhs.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The aim of this paper is to describe an incident where elemental mercury led to widespread contamination and the exposure of 225 individuals and confirmed toxicity in 19 individuals. The paper describes the incident and difficulties found in trying to assess the risk to individuals and to identify and decontaminate the residences involved.

METHODS:

All individuals exposed to elemental mercury in the incident were followed up for 15 months.

RESULTS:

Thirty-seven individuals were found to be 'at risk' and 13 were symptomatic of mercury poisoning. Five patients required chelation therapy. The incident was closed when the risk of poisoning and re-exposure was minimized.

CONCLUSION:

Incident management depends on early effective communication and collaboration between all agencies involved.

PMID:
11315688
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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