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    Post: mercury spill advisory

    Posted by Fred R. Dressler on 7/21/04

    (1) Stevenson, (wa) Highschool Mercury spill

    In 1970 a one pound flask of liquid mercury was taken from
    the science lab by my brother John Dressler a juvinile
    (now deceased), at the age of 8 I ingested a significant
    amount of this material and subsequently spilled no less
    than 12 oz.s on the second floor of the "old Ziegler home"
    located on Gropper rd. directly across from the school.
    My diagnosis of heavy metal poisoning and sence of civic
    duty prompted me to contact local law inforcement, the
    epa, school dist.303, the Ska. Co. Health dept. and the
    Ska. Co. Pioneer,(sole media sorce of the county)and
    lastly, (pursuent to fedral law concerning the spill of
    one pound or more), to the National response agency.
    After consulting Bryce A. McCollum Psy. D. (county
    agent/sole psycologist) on the matter it was suggested
    that I should contact anyone spending prolonged periods of
    time in the house between 1970 and 1985 as the spilled
    mercury permiated the second floor for over a decade,
    eventually puddled between floors, seeping through the
    kitchen ceiling as it evaporated.
    After contacting no less than 15 individuals I was
    astonished to find that 100%, (without exception) are
    showing, not,"similar", symptoms, but rather, "Identical",
    symptoms, this number could easily double or triple.
    Feeling it a matter of public safety and awareness, I
    contacted the Ska. Co Pioneer who informed me that they
    could not print "supposition", (Although the flask was
    personally handled by no less than 8 individuals and the
    facts are irrefutable),and that the matter would have to
    go through the Ska. Co. Health dept., who were in turn,
    immediatly contacted.
    The health dept. acknowledged receiving my prior
    notification and deemed from their office chairs
    that, "since the house was destroyed by fire in 1990, it
    would no longer be a hazard", and, "Besides, that would
    require testing, and guys in suits and stuff, you know how
    it goes", needless to say I was surprised.
    It would seem to me, that due to it's proximity to the
    school, (less than 100 feet), that you would at least do a
    prelimary, (enviromental level), test prior to reaching
    that conclusion rather than reaching a conclusion prior to
    any testing.
    I then asked the Health Dept. "What about those
    individuals that spent time in the house that I'm not
    personally aware of?, don't they have a right to know that
    they may have been exposed to a known health risk?", the
    answer was "NO", I was astounded.
    I then asked, "Isn't there a way you could inform the
    public through a published advisory?", the answer was, "If
    you want to inform the public you will have to file a
    class action". I was appalled, (seems like a lot of
    trouble to go though just to do what they should be doing,
    looking out for the public's wellbeing).
    I then stated that the bottle and it's remaining content
    are still in existance today, ironically at the home of a
    retired teacher who was never made aware of the loss, I
    was merely asked, "Is the cap still on it?", and, "If so,
    don't worry about it".
    I found this last statement disconserting considering even
    after 30+ years it was still considered, "stolen
    property",and a hazardous material whose location was made
    known, there was no attempt to retrieve it,are they
    waiting for another 8 year old to open it?
    The fact that the bottle was not reported missing until 20
    years later by teachers who knew the loss, is no less than
    gross negligence, the fact that nothing was mentioned to
    the public and that there may still be enviromental or
    health consequences, to me, is continued negligence.
    Symptoms include: memory and speach difficulties,tremors
    or involuntary muscle contractions, confusion, social
    anxiety,(see EPA website/mercury).
    If you or someone you know spent prolonged periods in the
    afore mentioned house you are urged to contact me, The
    only reason I've chosen this method to inform the public
    is because of the Health Dept. and Pioneer's failure to do
    Fred R. Dressler
    (904) 710-6166

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