Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 21:44:59 -0500
Reply-To: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: Re: mercury- final questions

From: 	dakatz45**At_Symbol_Here**
Subject: 	Re: [DCHAS-L] mercury- final questions
Date: 	November 24, 2007 11:15:16 AM GMT-05:00

I have read Alan Hall's excellent response to the teacher concerned  
with mercury contamination in his school. However, I do have a concern  
regarding that response.

Before testing himself and his children through a toxicologist, I  
believe his first concern should be determination of the amount of  
mercury in the rooms as established by testing with the Lumex 915.   
The results of that testing should guide subsequent actions.  I would  
not have the individual and his family go through medical evaluations  
if there was no mercury contamination in the workplace.  If the  
presence of mercury is established in the workplace, then, evaluation  
by a qualified medical toxicologist would be the logical next step.

I would never downplay the effects of exposure to mercury  
contamination, nor having testing done on a facility where there was a  
history of mercury spills, but mercury has gotten such a bad rap in  
recent years that there exists some unreasonable fear (panic?) of  
mercury and its compounds.  At my institution, we have just had to  
deal with an individual who tried to start a panic over a very small  
amount of mercury(II) chloride which is included in a standard  
laboratory kit for medical lab technicians. (All the mercury chloride  
is used up in the laboratory procedures.)  As a trained chemist with  
long time safety involvement, my main concern was that all individuals  
were properly trained in the proper handling, use, and disposal of the  
compound and that there were no excessive amounts that required  
storage in our facilities.

David Katz

   David A. Katz
   Chemist, Educator, Expert Demonstrator, Science Communicator, and  
   Programs and workshops for teachers, schools, museums, and the public
   133 N. Desert Stream Dr. * Tucson, AZ 85745-2277 *  USA
   voice/fax: (520) 624-2207 * email: dakatz45**At_Symbol_Here**
            Visit my web site:

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