A spill of as much as 10 pounds of hazardous mercury from an antique clock sent a woman out of her Overland Park apartment Monday and caused officials to advise other residents to have themselves checked for exposure.
The unusual event apparently happened weeks ago on the back porch of an apartment in the 9100 block of Riggs Lane but was not noticed as possibly hazardous until Monday morning.
Overland Park Fire Department spokesman Jason Rhodes said the mercury spilled out of tubes that served as counterweights for an old grandfather’s clock. He said a mercury spill of that size is rare.
The Environmental Protection Agency was called in to advise on cleanup procedures. The affected apartment was sealed pending cleanup, but three other units in the building were deemed safe for occupancy.
Mercury, also known as quicksilver, is a toxic, liquid metal that was commonly used in thermometers.