CHANNELVIEW, Texas — Public health officials are investigating a case of dangerous liquid mercury that appears to have washed or blown ashore here, east of Houston, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Bobby Griffin found the clusters of shiny silver mercury globules scattered across his San Jacinto riverfront property on Tuesday, a few hundred yards from the San Jacinto Waste Pits, a Superfund site that was inundated during last week’s storm.
Harvey cut a path through industrial corridors, raising concerns about pollution and runoff. Public health officials are especially concerned about flooding at highly contaminated Superfund sites, designated by the federal government for clean up...
...The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says that mercury is extremely dangerous, “with a few drops generating enough fumes to contaminate the air in a room.” It is less dangerous outside, but it poses a hazard if people pick it up or stand near it.
Mr. Griffin, who earned a living renting out mobile homes on his land until the storm wrecked them all, first noticed a spray of silvery dots in the wet sand that clung to his bare toes on Tuesday.
He called out for a New York Times reporter who happened to be on his property, looking for toxic contamination left behind after the storm, to come over.
Mr. Griffin, 57, picked up one cluster with his knife, tipped it into the palm of his left hand and watched it dance, split into pieces and come back together.
“It’s all over here,” Mr. Griffin said, pointing to cluster after cluster. He said he had not seen the material before the storm came....That doesn't sound like a good situation... time to get out the elemental sulfur?