Local News

Actions

UPDATE: EPA cleans student's home evacuated after higher levels of mercury found

More than 80 homes inspected by EPA
Posted at 5:38 PM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 00:58:31-04
UPDATE: Environmental Protection Agency officials cleared out a student's home after high levels of mercury were found Tuesday. 
 
According to officials, the home was the only one evacuated after agents found up to 15 times the same amount of mercury throughout the home. The highest levels were in the student's bedroom. 
 
"This child got mercury on their clothing, their backpack and it got transferred back to the house," said Tom Dunkelman with the EPA. 
 
The family's home was tested Saturday, but the EPA didn't begin cleaning until Tuesday. Neighbors said they were worried about their safety. 
 
"I'm wondering what's going on whether I'm safe or not. I'm only two doors down," said neighbor Ron Lucci. 
 
 
The EPA will continue cleaning the home for the next two days. They will be disposing and destroying any hazardous material.

Classes resumed at Johnson Junior High Tuesday after last week's mercury scare. 

 
ORIGINAL STORY
 
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- Even though classes resume at Johnson on Tuesday, it's not the end of the contamination issues for some because authorities are still worried about mercury in some students' homes.
 
The EPA said 80 homes were tested for mercury levels and one was evacuated. The home will be cleaned out on Tuesday. 
 
While school administrators may have a peace of mind, there are parents and grandparents out there who are still worried about what may have come home with their children from school.
 
In fact, one grandmother says traces of mercury were found in places she and her grandchildren sit every day.
 
"It's in my home. It's low levels but it's still in my home."
 
Georgette Byrd's home is just one invaded by EPA agents. 
 
"They scanned first and then they stepped in and the first reading was 60 so we did have some traces of mercury," says Byrd.
 
And that was just at the front door. The kitchen, in the front room, agents even went upstairs.
 
Her granddaughter's jacket, which she'd wore to school, had the highest level of mercury.

"They told us the level of 6,000 is high and the jacket was at 20,000," says Byrd.
 
Byrd now worries about her family, especially about their newborn baby. 
 
Byrd is following the instruction of the EPA. She's setting clothes outside in the sun and constantly running her air conditioning.
 
Anything to make her home feel like a home again.
 
"Our happy home that's been contaminated and we aren't happy about it. It doesn't make us happy anymore," says Byrd.

 
13 Action News spoke with one parent who said she's considering pulling her child out of the school altogether.
 
"At this point, I don't think he's going to go," said mom Tiffany Zippel.
 
Zippel said she's not happy with how the district handled this incident. According to the EPA, the mercury levels initially found inside the school were 10 to 15 times higher than what's considered safe.
 
"I bleached my floors one million times," she said.
 
Others said they plan on taking their children to the doctor for extra screenings.
 
"Both of my kids are asthma babies," said grandmother Antoinette Singleton. "I still don't know if they're safe because they still haven't said who brought it."