Source AP ©

Boys play with stolen mercury raising environmental concerns

A group of boys from Clendenin played with stolen mercury, and created an environmental headache after tracking it into their school, homes and church and up the steps of the public library.

Five of the 25 students who handled the poisonous substance showed high levels of exposure, but none suffered serious health risk, health officials said Wednesday.

"It was shiny and made interesting patterns when you drop it," said Dr. Kerry Gateley, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. "From a 10-year-old's standpoint, that is fascinating stuff."

The fourth- and fifth-graders took about 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) of mercury, used in some dental fillings, from the vacant and apparently unlocked office early last week, authorities said.

They played with the toxic substance for several days, with one student reportedly trading a pair of sneakers for some, before school officials learned about it Friday, said Clendenin Elementary School Principal Karen Scheer.

Health officials spent the weekend removing contaminated items from the steps of a public library, two classrooms at the school and a gazebo at a public park in the town of 1,400, Gateley said.

About 200 people were expected to be screened for exposure, Gateley said.

Short-term exposure to mercury vapors is not considered dangerous. Long-term exposure can affect the brain and nervous system causing behavioral problems, such as irritability, followed by tremors.

Mayor Bob Ore said the boys walked through an open door at the dentist's office, which had been put up for sale after the doctor suffered a stroke 18 months earlier. He was not sure if any charges would be pursued.

Comments
Russian warship helps Ukrainian fishermen in distress
The World Cup has changed the world in one month
Austria shows its 'ugly face' to Islam?
Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki held in the cross hairs of the Russian fleet
Trump versus the Traitors on Capitol Hill
Trump versus the Traitors on Capitol Hill
The Future of NATO
Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki held in the cross hairs of the Russian fleet
New Russian weapons: Already obsolete?
Trump versus the Traitors on Capitol Hill
Trump versus the Traitors on Capitol Hill
The Future of NATO
Putin warns of consequences should Georgia and Ukraine become NATO members
Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki held in the cross hairs of the Russian fleet
Is President Trump a traitor because he wants peace with Russia?
Is President Trump a traitor because he wants peace with Russia?
Is President Trump a traitor because he wants peace with Russia?
Can USA and Russia reset their relationship in Helsinki or is it a waste of time?
Putin warns of consequences should Georgia and Ukraine become NATO members
Can USA and Russia reset their relationship in Helsinki or is it a waste of time?
USA tramples on human rights to protect Israel