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Presentations May 23 – 25, 2005 Portland, Maine For related information visit: http://www.newmoa.org/prevention/mercury/conferences
Hazardous Chemicals in Schools Achieving Mercury Reductions in Products and Waste 23 May 2005 Kristina L. Meson, USEPA
School Chemicals: In the News “Maine - schools have uncovered stockpiles of potentially dangerous chemicals, including agents used in Chemical Warfare that could cost millions to clean up.” 10/18/04 “Montana – Science teachers across Montana are being surveyed about the chemicals in their classrooms … stockpiles, some perhaps decades old.” 8/31/04 NPR: Safety concerns of school chemistry labs. 1/22/04 EPA - Region 4 responds to Mercury release in school. 4/19/04 Des Moines, Iowa – “Experts hauled out and blew up several containers of unidentified chemicals found in school storage area.” 2/27/04 Tokyo – “School officials failed to dispose of more than 1,000 bottles of radioactive waste.” 8/24/04 Hawaii - “Hazmat crews and police converge on Kalani High School, after students got into a container of sodium cyanide.” 12/12/04
The Big Picture Schools are overburdened, underfunded and understaffed. Environmental health issues usually take a back seat. Stockpiles of chemicals, including mercury, are but one of many environmental and safety issues. Often schools do not have any staff that focus exclusively on environmental or environmental health issues.
Scope of Problem 53 million children and 6 million staff in 118,000 in K-12 schools in US. Chemicals include: –Explosives –Corrosives –Flammables –Toxics –Poisons –Radioactive materials Found throughout the school in science labs, art studios, and maintenance storage facilities.
Why Do We Care About Mercury in Schools? Mercury and children do NOT mix! Neurotoxic, heavy metal that is linked to numerous health effects. Found in products in schools and is often used to demonstrate chemical principles. Most likely route of exposure in schools is inhalation after a spill or while “playing” with elemental mercury. Costly Cleanups and school closures.
EPA Data: The Tip of the Iceberg –In 2004, EPA responded to 12 emergency removals involving mercury. –Data represents a small percentage of incidents since most are handled at the local level and are never reported to national databases.
Case Study 1: Kiln, Mississippi September 2003: Mississippi DEQ requested an emergency response removal at two schools. Mercury Concentrations above EPA levels. Three school buses were contaminated – seats and flooring removed. Children’s clothing tested and some disposed. Total cleanup costs were $200,000.
Case Study 2: Washington, D.C. On October 2, 2003 a student obtained 250 milliliters of liquid elemental mercury from a science laboratory. Contamination spread via several modes of transportation on student shoes and clothing. Breathing zone mercury vapor concentrations were greater than EPA standards. The school was closed for cleanup and reopened after about a month. Eleven homes and one common area were found to be contaminated and about 16 families were displaced for a month. Total cleanup costs were about $1,500,000.
Mercury Legislation 40 states have a partial ban At least 10 states specify a ban on mercury in schools At least 9 states have school mercury cleanout programs
State Hg Reduction Programs New York Dept. of Health –New outreach materials aimed at different school audiences Minnesota – Mercury Free Zone –Clancy the Hg-sniffing dog Wisconsin – Schools Mercury Reduction Program Indiana – Mercury Awareness Program
What Can You do to Reduce the Amount of Mercury in Schools? Help educate students, other teachers and administrators about mercury. Promote proper management and recycling of mercury and mercury-containing products. Eliminate the use of mercury wherever possible at schools. Prevent mercury spills and know what to do if a spill occurs. Promote the use of alternative products that do not contain mercury.
Helpful Resources Mercury in your Community and the Environment (WI DNR) –http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/bnsdocs/merccom m/merccomm.pdfhttp://www.epa.gov/glnpo/bnsdocs/merccom m/merccomm.pdf Safe Mercury Management –http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/mer cury/school.htmhttp://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/mer cury/school.htm Mercury Collection/Recycling/Exchange Programs –http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/mer cury/collction.htmhttp://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/mer cury/collction.htm Cleaning up Mercury Spills –http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/mer cury/spills.htmhttp://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/mer cury/spills.htm
Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign (SC3) Resource Conservation Challenge project initiated by EPA. Began in April 2004. Supports projects across the nation. –10 regional pilots funded in 2004.
Nitric acid, oxidizer and corrosive. Fumes ate through plastic cap then oxidized cardboard box. Extreme fire risk Six pounds of cyanide right above it Earthquake could mean gas chamber for 500 students
Hydrofluoric Acid Anesthetic: acid doesn’t burn on contact Deep tissue and bone disintegration Extreme pain, can cause gangrene, amputation Highly corrosive, dissolves glass Used in Art & Chem classes for glass etching
Goals of the SC 3 Remove outdated, unknown, excessive, or unnecessarily hazardous chemicals from secondary schools; Prevent future stockpiles and reduce accidents by establishing prevention activities such as good purchasing and management practices; Raise national awareness of the problem.
Regional Initiatives All funded programs involved a consortium of partners: –State and Local Department of Environments –School Districts - Administration –Chemical and Waste Management firms Chemicals identified for removal ranged from laboratory to cleaning chemicals. Trained personnel essential for identification and handling of chemicals, and education of school personnel.
What’s Happening in the Field Technical experts make site visits to schools to assess problems. Work closely with school personnel on solutions. Trained personnel remove identified chemicals. Prevention practices implemented (training, purchasing policies, green chemistry, etc.) Follow up.
Creating your own School Cleanout Elements of successful programs include: –On-site technical assistance and school audit; –Teacher and administrator education and awareness-building; –Funding for hazardous chemical disposal; –Additional commitments from school to maintain proper chemical management.
Chemical Management Services Pilot –Public/private partnership with GM/Lansing Public School District (RCC funded). –Team consists of OSW, OPPTS, Region 5, Lansing, MI DEQ. –Chemical Management Services (CMS) and Resource Management (RM) as a combined strategy to improve chemical and waste management in K-12 schools.
RCC Schools Cluster Exploring mutual environmental stewardship approaches for improving school chemical management. Partnerships are essential to success. –Council of State Science Supervisors –General Motors –Association of School Business Officials –National Science Education Leadership Assn –National Science Teachers Assn –Chemical Strategies Partnership (non-profit org) –State and Local governments
State Activities Illinois –School Chemical Collections are mandated. –$800,000 grant just issued Michigan –$200,000 from bottle taxes designated Maine –Two proposals – bond; and pesticide containers
Where do we go from here? Interim and final report on 10 SC3 pilot Lessons Learned from other SC3- type programs Outreach and Awareness materials
Helpful Resources Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign –www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/conserve/cluste rs/schools/index.htm Healthy School Environments –http://cfpub.epa.gov/schools/index.cfm Children’s Health Protection –www.epa.gov/children/ Children’s Health Month –www.childrenshealth.gov
October is Children’s Health Month (2004 dates) October 1: Prevent Mercury Exposure at SchoolPrevent Mercury Exposure at School October 2: Clean Mercury Spills SafelyClean Mercury Spills Safely October 3: Replace Mercury Fever ThermometersReplace Mercury Fever Thermometers October 4: Protect Children from Contaminated Fishrotect Children from Contaminated Fish October 5: Reduce Mercury Products in the Home and at SchoolReduce Mercury Products in the Home and at School October 11: Protect Children from Chemicals in SchoolProtect Children from Chemicals in School
Presentations May 23 – 25, 2005 Portland, Maine
Chemical (including Mercury) Management in Maine Schools Ann Pistell Maine Department of Environmental Protection (207) 287-7703 1-800-452-1942
Education Financing Nutrition programs Teachers Curricula Salaries Books Title VI Students w/ disabilities Attendance Class SizeBudgeting Athletics Title 1 Economically disadvantaged students Test Scores School Facilities More seats New construction School siting Repairs & renovation O&M Environment Health & Safety HIV AsthmaPregnancy Drugs Violence Injuries Transportation A School’s View of Environmental Issues Credit: EPA Region I
Maintenance AreasMaintenance Areas Vocational ShopsVocational Shops Science LaboratoriesScience Laboratories Art ClassroomsArt Classrooms Nurse’s OfficeNurse’s Office Administrative officesAdministrative offices Where Are Hazardous Chemicals In Schools?
Program History DEP responded to sixteen mercury spills in schools over last three years.DEP responded to sixteen mercury spills in schools over last three years. Spills are costly so it wasSpills are costly so it was decided it was better to go get decided it was better to go get the mercury than to continue responding to spills. responding to spills. After visiting a few schools,After visiting a few schools, program was broadened.
Why did we broaden the program? Wefound a whole host of problems We found a whole host of problems including: including:
This is a middle school. Chemicals stored alphabetically. Curriculum only called for about a dozen of these chemicals. Note acids on far right. This is a middle school. Chemicals stored alphabetically. Curriculum only called for about a dozen of these chemicals. Note acids on far right. Improper Storage
Acids stored in an unlocked metal cabinet designed for flammables. Clips holding shelves were badly corroded. This is after we took most acids out.
Condition of containers is very poor. All are corrosives. Bottom one is probably sulfuric acid.
Sodium, a flammable, corrosive solid. Should be stored under mineral oil. Water reactive, and forms dangerous hydrogen gas and a solution of corrosive sodium hydroxide.
Calcium Nitrate - strong oxidizer, may explode if shocked or heated. Poor shelf life.
Impure sulfuric acid. Listed for corrosivity and reactivity. Aged – can tell by color.
Sam’s Club effect resulting from spend it or it or lose it monies and limited budgets.A little too much mercuric oxide! Sam’s Club effect resulting from spend it or it or lose it monies and limited budgets. A little too much mercuric oxide! Overstock
Structural limitations of buildings. buildings.Dysfunctional or inadequate equipment
Bromine (9/15/79) and unknown. Bromine is a PIH - Poison Inhalation Hazard, and needs special handling. Expensive to get rid of! Donations These were ‘gifts’ from a college that was closing to several local high schools.
The teacher insisted he was really using this! Note the bottles around it. Should be stored in dedicated base cabinet but wasn’t. Serious eye and respiratory irritant. Human Nature
Nobody we visited was in compliance. So DEP started a Mercury and Chemical Clean-out Program
Current Chemical Management Requirements in Maine May not purchase mercury or mercury instruments.May not purchase mercury or mercury instruments. Must have a current inventory of all hazardous chemicals.Must have a current inventory of all hazardous chemicals. Must have a Chemical Hygiene Plan, chemical hygiene officer and a c hemical purchasing policy.Must have a Chemical Hygiene Plan, chemical hygiene officer and a c hemical purchasing policy. May not have a more than a two year supply of any hazardous chemical.May not have a more than a two year supply of any hazardous chemical. Must follow state and federal disposal rules for hazardous waste. Must follow state and federal disposal rules for hazardous waste.
School must sign a Participation Agreementsign a Participation Agreement designate a primary contactdesignate a primary contact primary contact must come to trainingprimary contact must come to training inventory chemicals and develop CHPinventory chemicals and develop CHP spend $500 at a minimum if they have significant amount of hazardous waste.spend $500 at a minimum if they have significant amount of hazardous waste.
DEP’s role in program Hire hazardous waste contractorHire hazardous waste contractor Develop and provide chemical inventory form (now available on DEP web site)Develop and provide chemical inventory form (now available on DEP web site) Provide free training workshopsProvide free training workshops On site technical assistance if requestedOn site technical assistance if requested Coordinate quotes and pick-upsCoordinate quotes and pick-ups Pay for contractor transportation and for mercury disposal. Typical cost = $7-800.Pay for contractor transportation and for mercury disposal. Typical cost = $7-800.
Mercury. So far we have collected over 700 lbs. of Hg, 6500 lbs. and over 1000 gallons of hazardous waste from about 80 schools. little overstock on mercuric oxide!little overstock on mercuric oxide!little overstock on mercuric oxide!little overstock on mercuric oxide!
The Program’s Challenges and Future Chemical management regulated by three state agencies: DOE, DOL and DEP.Chemical management regulated by three state agencies: DOE, DOL and DEP. Inconsistent enforcement of rules.Inconsistent enforcement of rules. No formalized program or mandate at DEP.No formalized program or mandate at DEP. Lack of funding.Lack of funding.
Presentations May 23 – 25, 2005 Portland, Maine
Mercury Reduction in Schools Chris Butler, Carol Hubbard, Clancy Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Why Eliminate Hg from Schools? Health and environmental risk Liability Negative public relations
Mercury Exposure Pathways Inhalation hazard Volatile at room temperature Enters through the lungs into blood stream Skin contact Ingestion Elemental mercury ingestion Hg methylates and collects in fish
Minnesota Department of Health Chronic US EPA = 300 ng/m 3 Lifetime exposure - No adverse effect Acute California REL = 1,800 ng/m 3 Exposure of 1 hour/day during gestation Mercury health-based exposure values:
Are Schools Safe? Chronic Acute St. Olaf College Babbitt HS Highland Park HS Cleveland JHS 0 500 2,000 5,000 ng/m 3 69,000 ng/m3
Mercury-free Alternatives Thermometers – Ever-Safe (Fisher) –Manufactured by MERCK –Isoamyl benzoate, C 12 H 16 O 2 –Accuracy ± 1 scale division –Column doesn’t separate Digital and Eco Celli Barometer Blood pressure cuff with dial
450 schools pledged mercury free 150 mercury assessments 1000 lb of Hg kept out of environment Average – 2 pounds per school
Contact Information Chris Butler, MPCA 218-723-2358 / 800-657-3864 firstname.lastname@example.org Carol Hubbard, MPCA 651-282-2604 email@example.com http://www.pca.state.mn.us/programs/mercury-free http://www.mercuryinschools.uwex.edu/