Columbus middle school closes after students exposed to mercury

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COLUMBUS, Ohio— An Ohio middle school was closed after 40 students and a teacher were exposed to mercury when a thermometer broke inside a science classroom.

No one reported becoming sick at the school that was closed Thursday so it could be cleaned and checked. A Columbus City Schools spokesman said mercury got on the skin and clothes of students and a teacher when the thermometer broke Wednesday afternoon at Johnson Park Middle School.

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency website says skin contact with mercury can lead to irritation and a burning sensation, and that inhaling it can result in chest pains and vomiting.

It’s unclear if the thermometer was brought in by a student, or if it was an older one at the school.

The district’s spring break starts Friday.