2 more LI schools test positive for mercury vapor

Posted: Updated:
AMITYVILLE -

Two more Long Island school districts have detected potentially hazardous fumes in their facilities.

Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School in Amityville and Merrick's Norman J. Levy Lakeside School now join what could potentially be a growing list of schools tested for the hazardous fume known as mercury vapor.

The vapor is typically found in polyurethane, or rubber-like, synthetic flooring dating back to the 1960s up to the 1990s. According to environmentalists, the vapor can be extremely toxic.

"It can cause everything from anxiety, memory loss, confusion, even tremors, changes in blood pressure, dizziness, nausea," says Adrienne Esposito, of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "This is something we really want to keep away from our children."

A letter sent to parents in Amityville says that air sampling confirmed concentrations of mercury vapor inside the gym and they have since closed it off.

The district says it even removed its synthetic flooring, but they found the mercury vapor had been absorbed by the concrete slab that was underneath.

In Merrick, mercury vapor was detected inside the Cubs Cave, a multipurpose room used for physical education, lunch and other activities.

Last month Miller Place closed its high school gym because of similar conditions.

Lawmakers are now calling for a wider state investigation.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky says that without a state standard, it is hard to tell if a school is in compliance. Kaminsky will introduce legislation Monday to correct it, so a safe level standard can be determined.

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