'Reduces IQ': schools in New York State are closed due to mercury vapor - ForumDaily
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'Lowers IQ': New York State Closes Schools Due to Mercury Vapors

Schools closed in two more areas of Long Island after a study showed a slightly elevated level of mercury vapor from synthetic rubber flooring. This news prompted lawmakers to call for a wider investigation of the problem. It currently covers three public schools.

Фото: Depositphotos

Tests showed elevated levels of mercury vapor in the Amityville and Merrick elementary schools, according to notifications sent to parents in April and May. 28 April Miller Place closed the gymnasium after the test revealed mercury vapors on an old synthetic wood floor.

Schools informed parents that children were not in danger, and facilities were closed only because of precautions.

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Health experts say mercury fumes can build up in the body and ultimately affect brain function, especially in children. They also added that mercury levels increase in warm weather and when ventilation systems are turned off.

"You don't want your children to be exposed to mercury in any form, especially at school," said Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute of Health and the Environment at the University at Albany. - This reduces IQ and also affects concentration. This is associated with more antisocial behavior...”

Although there are no state standards in New York schools, test reports prepared for Merrick and Amityville concentration levels are generally below the standards set by other states for short-term and long-term exposure. The levels, however, were above the standard of the US Environmental Protection Agency during the period of continuous exposure.

Miller Place has not yet published its test reports in response to a request from the “Freedom of Information Act” from 7 in May.

Фото: Depositphotos

Amityville recorded mercury vapors at Park Avenue Memorial Elementary 11 in April. They were caused by old synthetic flooring.

During the spring school holidays, these coatings were removed from schools, but officials believe that mercury has been absorbed into the concrete slab from below, and they are currently working on a restoration plan.

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Cubs Cave is a multi-purpose room used for physical education classes, as well as a cafeteria and other activities at the Norman J. Levy Lakeside School in Merrick. It was closed on May 7 after mercury vapor was discovered there.

In a letter to parents, Superintendent Dominic Palma said that the district is conducting a environmental testing campaign and that “the levels of detected mercury are lower than the federal and state limits available for short-term exposure and slightly higher than the EPA for continuous exposure.”

Palma said that the environmental management company introduced negative air pressure into the space so that couples do not fall into other parts of the school. The school will conduct additional research.

Фото: Depositphotos

According to Superintendent Mariann Cartizano, Miller Place High School remains closed. The area is treated using negative air pressure and conduct continuous air testing in the vicinity.

The county said it plans to remove wood and synthetic coatings and replace them with a new wooden coating.

“For the safety of our students and staff, this will be done while there are no students in the building in accordance with strict environmental regulations,” the statement said.

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It is not known how often rubberized floors containing mercury were used in Long Island. Synthetic floors were installed from 1960-e to 1990-e by pouring two liquid resins. Mercury has sometimes been used as a catalyst, according to the leadership of the Minnesota Department of Health.

A New York State Department of Education spokesman confirmed that there are no rules or guidelines specific to this process, but state officials work with counties on building projects on an individual basis.

Фото: Depositphotos

Representatives of the Department of Health and the State’s Department of Environmental Protection stated that schools did not contact them on this matter.

State Senator Todd Kaminsky said the state should start investigating how widespread the problem is.

"We don't want to be alarmist, but we don't know how many gyms have mercury vapor in them," Kaminsky, chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, said when briefed on Merrick and Amityville.

Matthew Hamilton, a spokesman for the United Teachers of New York, said the union is serious about potential health hazards.

“While levels of potential exposure to substances such as mercury vapor and other hazardous materials and chemicals vary in each situation, we encourage our members to raise any concerns they believe may impact the well-being of students, staff and visitors with their administrators,” Hamilton said. “It is critical that we work together to keep our schools safe for everyone.”

Mercury is a silvery metal that exists in liquid and vapor forms. It is widely used in many consumer products and is commonly found in homes, schools, hospitals, offices and workplaces, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association.

In 1960's, many manufacturers began to include mercury in their rubberized products for sports halls in order to preserve the elasticity of rubber over time.

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