LUBBOCK (April 21, 2014) The cost of cleaning up John B. Hood Junior High School in Odessa after a student showed up last month with a container of toxic mercury has reached nearly $900,000.
Ector County Independent School District spokesman Mike Adkins said Monday the figure could rise even more once all invoices are received from companies involved in the cleanup.
As many as 70 people were taken to hospitals on March 18 they were exposed to the toxic element.
Students were moved to a different school until April 3 and during the cleanup, more than 500 items were thrown away.
The ninth grade boy told administrators that he found the plastic bottle containing about an ounce of mercury in an alley on the way to school.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can be absorbed through skin and mucous membranes.
It’s most dangerous when heated because vapors can be inhaled.