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,
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
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
Posts on this thread, including this one