People who have been in contact with mercury that was discovered in a disused building on the former Regents Truck site in Frog Lane, Wigan are being offered health checks as a precautionary measure.
Wigan Council staff discovered more than a kilogram of mercury in the building that has reportedly been used by children and young people from the locality. The site, which is owned by a private developer, has since been sealed off by Wigan Council to eliminate any further risk of entry and most of the mercury removed.
Dr. Kate Ardern, Director of Public Health for Wigan Borough, said: “We identified some of the children and young people who came into contact with the mercury and these, along with residents of adjacent properties, were offered assessment and tests at a drop-in session on Thursday 13 August.
“However, we believe that other children and young people may also have been in the building where mercury was found and we are concerned that some may have taken small quantities of the substance into their homes via contaminated footwear or clothing.
“Consequently, we are inviting people who have been on the site and near the bulding to attend further drop-in sessions that are being organised for Friday of this week.”
Mercury information leaflets have been distributed to households in the locality, along with invitations to people who believe that they may have been exposed to the substance to attend the drop-in sessions for assessment.
Drop-in sessions will be held in the Boston House Health Centre on Frog Lane, Wigan between 9.00am and 5.00pm on Friday 21 August.
Dr. William Welfare from the Health Protection Agency’s Greater Manchester Health Protection Unit said: “We strongly urge anyone who believes that they may have been in contact with mercury on the site on Frog Lane to attend the drop-in sessions on Friday.
“They will be assessed for levels of exposure and possibly asked to provide a sample of urine for testing. Clinical staff from the health centre and specialists from the Health Protection Agency will be on hand to answer their questions.”
Notes to editors
Breathing in high levels of mercury can result in damage to the brain, nerves and kidneys. Milder health effects can occur at lower levels of exposure.
People who have been in contact with mercury on the Frog Lane site are asked to attend the drop in session at Boston House Health Centre, Frog Lane, Wigan on Friday, 21st August between 9 am and 5 pm.
Clothes or other possessions that have been contaminated by mercury should be placed in a plastic bag that should be sealed and placed inside a second plastic bag, which should be removed outside to an area where children or pets cannot reach it. Please then attend the drop in session. If you are unable to attend the drop in session, contact the Greater Manchester Health Protection Unit on 0161-786-6710.
Anyone who thinks there may be mercury in their home should make sure the area is well ventilated and phone the Greater Manchester Health Protection Unit on 0161 786 6710 for advice on the best way to clean up. Residents should not attempt to vacuum up mercury or brush it up as this will spread the contamination further. Mercury-contaminated clothes should not be washed in a washing machine.
The Health Protection Unit will liaise with Wigan Council to arrange inspections in houses where that there may have been mercury contamination.
For further information please contact the Greater Manchester Health Protection Unit on 0161 786 6710.
For further information please contact Pauline Rowe, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement, NHS Ashton, Leigh and Wigan, on 01942 482709 email@example.com