Wentzville girl hospitalized after rare mercury spill

Missouri

Laboratory accessories images. Mercury in a sealed ampoule stock photo. Laboratory equipment on a silver background. Hg, toxic chemical element stock images

WENTZVILLE – A Wentzville 11-year-old is in the hospital following a rare mercury spill. Earlier this month, FOX2Now.com reported the Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the incident.

The child spilled a small vial of elemental mercury while playing about 5 months ago. The EPA says such incidents are rare.

Our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Jen Niswonger of Wentzville first took her four children to the doctor this summer when they all broke out in rashes. Her 11-year-old daughter didn’t get better.

On October 29, medical tests determined the child was suffering from mercury poisoning.

The hospital called the EPA after determining the child was poisoned. Investigators from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources went to the child’s home to perform a screening. They found elevated mercury levels throughout the home.

The EPA found high levels of mercury at two other homes earlier this month. Families at the homes were relocated and crews are removing contaminated items.

Six schools in the Wentzville School District also were identified as potential locations for assessments. The EPA and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources discovered that they were not contaminated.

The substance can be difficult to clean up and can linger for a very long time. The agency expanded the search for more contaminated places to other homes and schools.

Possible symptoms of mercury poisoning may include:

  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • “Pins and needles” feelings, usually in the hands, feet, and around the mouth
  • Lack of coordination of movements
  • Impairment of speech, hearing, walking and/or
  • Muscle weakness

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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