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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  November 20, 2004
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Pawtucket high school tests positive for mercury contamination
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PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) -- Small amounts of mercury were found at a Pawtucket high school that was tested after spills of the toxic metal at an apartment complex and a gas company.

It was not immediately clear if the mercury found at Shea High School was related to the spills. Officials say the amounts found were very small and not a hazard. The toxic metal will be cleaned up.

Tests of several Pawtucket schools were ordered due to concerns students who live in the affected apartment complex could have tracked it to school on their shoes. Tests at two other schoolsďż˝

Francis J. Varieur Elementary School and the International Charter School on Pleasant Street�were negative.

The mercury spill was caused by vandals who broke into a New England Gas Co. storage shed to steal liquid mercury over the course of at least three weeks, said Pawtucket Director of Administration Harvey Goulet.

The vandals, three teenagers and a 20-year-old unaware of the health hazards, brought the mercury back to the Lawn Terrace Apartments, the five-building complex on Pleasant and Division Streets where they lived.

On Friday, after elevated levels of mercury were found in the air, two of the buildings in the apartment complex were evacuated.  On Monday, after trace amounts of mercury were detected, the other three buildings were evacuated.

The more than 100 tenants are being put up by the Red Cross at a motel while Clean Harbors decontaminates the apartment complex.  Mulhare said it could be a month before it is safe for tenants to return.


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