On the morning of Sunday, April 23, 2023, a
representative of the Boulder County Health Department (BCHD) made a report to
the NRC requesting EPA assistance to a address a potential release of
mercury. A resident of Ward, Boulder
County, Colorado had called the Health Department to report the discovery of an
old “chemistry set” in the home. It was
unclear where the set had come from, but possibly purchased at a flea market by
a young resident of the home. The kit
was also reported to have small vials labelled as containing arsenic as
well the mercury. The homeowner also reported some
medical symptoms that could be ascribed to mercury exposure.
had contacted the resident and advised them to secure any containers of suspect
chemicals and await EPA assistance. Boulder County Sherriff met with EPA at the residence during the course of the response to
assist in communicating with the homeowner and other residents at the
house. BCHD also made arrangements
for follow-up medical evaluations.
Shun-Ping Chau mobilized to the property with one START contractor. A thorough
screening of the home with two different Lumex Mercury Vapor Analyzers showed no elevated levels of mercury vapors in the home. A visual inspection of the home found no
evidence of the release of mercury from its container. OSC Shun-Ping Chau took possession of the
chemistry set and is arranging for the proper disposal of the mercury and other
hazardous materials therein. EPA and
START departed the Site on the afternoon of April 23, 2023.