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Mercury Vapor Leads To Closures Of Two More Long Island School Facilities

Norman J. Levy Lakeside School  in Merrick
Norman J. Levy Lakeside School in Merrick Photo Credit: Google Maps

Two more Long Island school districts have been forced to close the doors of multiple buildings after potentially hazardous fumes were detected in their facilities.

Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School in Amityville and the Norman J. Levy Lakeside School in Merrick have been the latest to test for hazardous fumes, joining Miller Place, which was forced to close its high school gym due to similar conditions last month.

School officials said that there is no threat to the children and that the closures were out of precaution. While not toxic, the levels measured were about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for a “lifetime of continuous exposure.”

The vapors reportedly are connected to rubberized gym floors in the school districts.

The reports of mercury vapors has led to local lawmakers to call for a wider statewide investigation. New York State Sen. Todd Kaminsky has stated that he intends to introduce legislation this week to course correct, in an effort to determined a state standard regarding the potentially hazardous fumes.

According to the New York State Department of Health, mercury “is a naturally-occurring chemical that exists in several forms, metallic (elemental), organic and inorganic. Most health concerns focus on methylmercury in fish, and on metallic mercury, which has been used in many products in the past.

"Elemental mercury is a shiny, silver-gray liquid metal that scatters into droplets when spilled. At room temperature, liquid mercury will vaporize (evaporate) into air. Mercury vapor cannot be seen or smelled. Common items containing elemental mercury include: thermometers, thermostats, blood pressure units, barometers, gas pressure regulators, fluorescent light bulbs, and antiques.”

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