Mercury Spill from a Dentist's Office Closes a Preschool in Middletown, Ohio

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

MIDDLETOWN - Lincoln Center, a building that houses a dentist's office and a preschool, is expected to reopen later today after a mercury spill, according to the Middletown Fire Department.

The spill happened Friday in the building at 2402 Central Ave., but wasn't reported to authorities until Monday, Fire Capt. Brent Dominy said.

"They were doing some remodeling and had taken a sink off a cabinet and set it on the floor. That's when (the mercury) came out" of a sink drain trap, he said.

The office being remodeled is a dentist's office. Mercury is often used in amalgam fillings.

Most of the mercury was contained to the second floor, where the spill happened, but some contamination spread to the first floor, the location of a Head Start program. It was not known how much mercury spilled.

The building was evacuated and cleanup contractors worked through Monday night, Dominy said.

Several people went to the hospital for examinations but none reported symptoms.

Marie's Comments: It is very dangerous to have your preschool or offices near a dentist's office, especially if the dentist is not a biological dentist using all the safety precautions with his patients. Biological dentists are concerned about the enviroment and would use an amalgam separator which would keep the mercury particles from going down the drain and collecting in the drain traps. The dentist would call in a company that specializes in collecting mercury from dentist's offices to safely take away the mercury.

Plumbers also should be warned about working in a dentist's office because they can be exposed to hazardous mercury in the plumbing.

And yet the American Dental Association says this SAME mercury that was hazardous in the drains and hazardous when spilled on the dentist's floor is safe in your dental fillings, inside your mouth, just inches from your brain? These very same children that were evacuated from the building because of mercury, if they go to this same dentist's office to have dental work, could have this same mercury placed in their teeth in the form of a dental filling. Since the children are probably poor, since they are in a Head Start program, if they see a dentist who takes Medicaid, they WILL have mercury fillings placed in their teeth. The mothers will never be told that the amalgam fillings the dentists just placed will be around 50% metallic mercury, the same mercury that is in a therometer, and the same mercury that was hazardous when spilled from the drain of the dentist's sink.

Head Start classes canceled after mercury spill found

Associated Press - September 19, 2007 12:45 PM ET

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) - The Head Start classrooms in Middletown were evacuated yesterday after a mercury spill was found in a neighboring dental office.

Both the Head Start and the dental office were evacuated. City Health Commissioner David Winfough says the spill was made worse when someone tried to vacuum the mercury up, spreading vapor in the area.

Middletown Interim Police Chief Mark Hoffman says a spill about the size of a dinner plate was found in a sink trap. It spilled out during remodeling on Friday.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency tested the shoes of people in the building and all of them came back clean. The EPA says it will be back at the school today to test anyone who might have been exposed earlier in the week.

The Head Start canceled classes today.

Information from: Journal,

Mercury spill evacuates building, cancels Head Start classes today

By Daniel Wells
The Western Star
Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 19, 2007

MIDDLETOWN A mercury spill prompted the evacuation Tuesday of Middletown's Head Start classrooms on Central Avenue.

An employee at a dental office, which shares a building with Head Start at 2402 Central Ave., reported the spill at 2:37 p.m. About 68 children, 17 Head Start staff members and an unknown number of dental office employees and patients were evacuated. The mercury was inside a sink trap at the Middletown Dental Group offices. It spilled out into a hallway or stairwell two floors above the Head Start classrooms during remodeling Friday, said city Health Commissioner David Winfough.

"They tried to clean it up with a vacuum cleaner and that spreads the vapor," Winfough said.

Middletown Interim Police Chief Mark Hoffman likened the size of the spill to a dinner plate but said reports differed.

"It's not a 55-gallon drum or anything," he said. "The danger is inhalant."

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency tested the shoes of everyone present in the building for mercury, Tuesday. All of the children's shoes came back clean, said Head Start Director Jon Graft.

Because of the lag in reporting the spill, the Ohio EPA will be available at 7:30 a.m. at the building to test the shoes of children who may have been exposed Friday, Monday or Tuesday morning, Hoffman said. Parents should bring shoes to the school in a garbage bag marked with the student's name, address and phone number.

The building will be closed today. Head Start has not announced plans for Thursday classes.

Winfough said mercury poisoning symptoms can include: numbness in hands and feet, memory and hearing loss, slurred speech and loss of peripheral vision.

Contact this reporter at (513) 696-4527 or

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