Investigators say they’re puzzled by the significant amount of mercury found at a Las Vegas school, days after a few dribbles of the neurotoxin were first discovered and forced more than a thousand students into a quarantine that lasted overnight.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said last week that more than a quarter-cup of the element has been cleaned up so far on campus at Walter Johnson Junior High School.
Clark County district officials say they believe that a student brought in the mercury, but that there was no malicious intent behind it.
Students were given food, water, and access to medications and bathrooms that night. At least 50 of the 1,200 students had to be decontaminated. No illnesses have been reported. The EPA also checked the homes of about 60 students who were noted for contamination. One family has been displaced while awaiting EPA cleanup.
A version of this article appeared in the September 21, 2016 edition of Education Week as Mercury Contaminates Las Vegas School