CARMEL, N.Y. (AP) - It was quite a New Year's Eve at the home of
Richard Berger in Carmel - in Putnam County. Someone in the house broke
a rectal thermometer and the family called 911 around 10:30 to report
the small mercury spill.
Several dozen volunteers [the headline says 100] from the Carmel Fire Department responded to the house on Brookview Drive.
Fire Chief Darryl Johnson says mercury is a hazardous material that can cause stomach problems if inhaled.
Men wearing protective gear used wet sponges to clean up the puddle.
It was packaged and brought to the Carmel firehouse where the county health department will dispose of it today.
The Berger family was not hurt.
I remember breaking a few thermometers when I was a kid. You took a piece of paper, creased it into a cup shape, and used the edge to pick up the little blobs without touching them. I still seem to be alive today. I am sure those little blobs are buried deep in some landfill now, a ticking time bomb for future generations. And people wonder why gas prices are so high. A country this panicky over a fraction of a gram of mercury will never let a new refinery get constructed.