Mercury spill forces residents to evacuate home

Mercury spill forces residents to evacuate home

ERWIN TWP. — A mercury spill forced a homeowner in Erwin Township to evacuate his home Wednesday evening.

The Ironwood Public Saftey Department acted as the Upper Peninsula Regional Hazardous Material Team and responded to the spill at around 3:30 p.m. According to officers, the homeowner was cleaning his basement when a glass bottle of mercury was knocked over and broke on the concrete floor. He was able to evacuate the premises.

Authorities removed around three ounces of mercury along with several contaminated items. Mercury was once used in thermometers, switches, and blood pressure equipment. The substance was once thought to be safe, but studies show that it can be extremely toxic, even in small quantities.

The Western UP Health Department will be providing further support and assistance to the family.