Mercury spill in Sloan Hall cleaned up

Small leak occurred Wednesday; students not at inhalation risk

Cones+and+caution+tape+block+the+hallway+in+the+southwest+corner+of+the+ground+floor+on+Wednesday+at+Sloan+Hall.

JACQUI THOMASSON

Cones and caution tape block the hallway in the southwest corner of the ground floor on Wednesday at Sloan Hall.

JAKOB THORINGTON, Evergreen reporter

A mercury spill in Sloan Hall was cleaned up after an equipment leak on Wednesday morning.

Jason Sampson, assistant director of Environmental Health and Safety, said the equipment containing mercury was being sent to WSU Surplus Stores at around 9 a.m. The incident happened on the ground floor of Sloan close to the elevator, Sampson said.

He said the area was blocked off, and students passing by were not at risk of inhaling mercury because the contaminant was at a low level.

“Anyone passing through that area outside of the tape will be safe,” he said.

Mercury is a hazardous chemical when people are exposed to it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bigger the spill, the higher the danger.

Sampson said it was a small leak and is below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration permissible exposure limit.

Mercury exposure can lead to speech, hearing, peripheral vision and coordination impairment. It can also cause muscle weakness or rashes, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Sampson said the area became accessible to people around 2 p.m. Wednesday after precautionary steps were completed.