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Hazmat crew cleans up Dollar Tree mercury spill
Exposure to mercury can impair neurological development in fetuses, infants and children. Additionally, exposure can impair peripheral vision, coordination, speech, hearing and walking, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Those concerned about exposure should contact a physician, the EPA says.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element, existing in several forms, frequently as a shiny, silver or white metal that liquefies at room temperature. Mercury is found in a variety of every-day consumer products including batteries, thermostats, paint and some necklaces and jewelry.
Almost all people have at least trace amounts in their tissues. It is most commonly absorbed in small amounts through consumption of fish and shellfish, according to the EPA.
A hazardous materials cleanup continued on Saturday at the Dollar Tree store on B Street in Marysville.
Marysville police Sgt. Chris Sachs said an unidentified man apparently spilled an undetermined amount of mercury on Friday afternoon inside the store at 1409 B St.
Details were sketchy on Saturday.
"We're trying to identify the person and figure out why he had (the mercury)," Sachs said.
Little was known about the man who caused the spill. Police said he may have been a miner or construction worker.
Police were called to the store around 2:40 p.m. to take a report on a possible theft, Sachs said.
"The theft turned out to be unfounded, but we learned of the spill," Sachs said.
Sgt. Chris Miller said police learned a man had spilled some mercury in a store aisle around 9 a.m.
"Apparently a customer had some globs of the heavy metal in his pocket," Miller said.
A three-man cleanup crew from PARC Environmental was on scene Saturday.
Questions to the hazardous materials cleanup company's headquarters in Fresno were referred to the group's Sacramento office. A company representative who answered the phone there on Saturday said he would look into the cleanup effort.
Tim Reid, a Dollar Tree corporate spokesman, was hopeful the store could reopen today.
"It won't reopen until all of the public health officials give us the OK to reopen," Reid said.