Courtesy of WCTV:
By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eywitness News
THOMAS CO., Ga. (WCTV) — A Thomas County family has been hospitalized after being exposed to toxic levels of mercury. The family says their kids were initially exposed to it while visiting a friend’s house in the area about two weeks ago.
One of the kids brought some of the liquid mercury back to their home on Myrick Road. It wasn’t until a week later that the symptoms of mercury poisoning started showing in the three kids, the mom and stepdad.
Gloria Castillo Hurst, an aunt, is still in shock.
“It’s awful. It’s painful because they’re going through a lot of pain,” said Hurst.
She never imagined her family would suffer the toxic effects of mercury.
“They’re just going to need as much support from the community as possible,” said Hurst.
“The most scary part right now is my oldest daughter with the most exposure,” said Joey Castillo, the father.
He says his oldest is seeing the worst symptoms, like tremors, and can barely walk.
“My oldest daughter had the most exposure. I still see her symptoms getting worse instead of progressing,” Castillo said.
Castillo is at a Macon hospital, where his three kids, ages 11 to 15, are being treated by a specialty doctor.
“As a parent, I’m absolutely worried for my child’s life. It scares me to death. It does. All I can do is pray and hope we come through this alright,” said Castillo.
An Emergency Response team with the EPA has been working at the home for three days now. There is mercury-contaminated carpet, clothes and hardware inside the home.
They have a meter that reads the mercury vapor in the air. When they first arrived, they say it exceeded the maximum concentration limit. Those toxic levels have tremendously dropped since they first arrived.
The team has removed several items, like furniture, from the house in an effort to decontaminate them. Tuesday, the inside of the home was empty, with the carpet missing.
They say because mercury vaporizes, anything easily permeable is typically the most impacted. In the case of this home, the family lost carpeting, the majority of their clothing and hardware, like the washer and dryer.
The EPA emergency team says they see this kind of accident happen all too often around the country. They say if you ever come in contact with mercury to immediately call your local health department.
The community has started a fundraiser for the family. You can visit the link by clicking here.