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Mercury spill clean-up steps up

BUCHANAN, Mich. – Buchanan High School is still cleaning up after a student spilled mercury inside of a classroom. Students went back to their regular class schedule on Thursday, but three classrooms still needed to be cleaned and tested for mercury.

An eighth grade student brought a silver dollar sized amount of mercury to school on Wednesday.
Another student told ABC 57 the boy’s grandfather gave it to him and he thought it was “cool” so he brought it to school.
“They were playing with it and dropped it in the classroom and it spilled,” said Freshman Liz Canfield.
A teacher later found the pile of the “unidentified substance” on the carpet and reported it to the principal.
Canfield along with the rest of her schoolmates had to leave their shoes at school, so each pair could be tested for mercury.
But on Thursday, when the school bell rang at the end of the day almost every student walked out wearing one pair of shoes and carrying another.
“They called us down by our classes and we had to go show our slips and we got our shoes back,” said Canfield.
The school followed the Michigan Department of Community Health guidelines and called a state certified environmental clean-up crew, Terra Contracting.
The school said the three classrooms left to clean were two regular classrooms and an art room.
Buchanan School’s Business Manager Rick Bell said at least one of the rooms was cleared to reopen to students on Friday.
The other two would have to be determined later in the day.
Mercury can spread quickly and can cause flu-like symptoms and even lead to kidney problems.
The school principal sent home a letter with students on Thursday detailing what happened with the spill.
You can find the letter under the photo gallery.

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