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EPA To Expand Offer to Test Homes Potentially Impacted by Mercury from Day Care Center in Gloucester

Release Date: 09/06/2006
Contact Information: Mary Mears (212) 637-3660 or 646-369-0077; or Ben Barry (646) 369-0064

(New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has expanded its offer to test homes of children and staff members from Kiddie Kollege in Gloucester County, New Jersey. The Agency will still test homes in which people continue to show elevated levels in their urine that indicate mercury exposure to determine if they may have brought mercury contamination home from the day care center. Out of an abundance of caution, EPA will also test homes of children and staff members upon request even if their mercury exposure test levels are not high.

“While we believe that medical testing is the best indicator of which children or staff members are at risk, we understand that having their homes tested may give some people the added peace of mind they desire,” said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. “We are taking a comprehensive approach and we are taking aggressive action to ensure that these children and staff are protected.”

Because mercury breaks down in the body within 60 days, and the known source of mercury – the day care center – was closed on July 28, 2006, the second round of medical screening will indicate if a child or staff member is still being exposed to mercury, potentially in their home. Results of a second round of testing by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry are expected within the next 2 weeks.

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