(City of Lake Charles, Louisiana)
A couple, whom at their request will remain nameless, recently reported an incident of mercury poisoning in their home. The couple's five month old baby was accidentally poisoned with mercury when the child's mother accidentally made the child's cereal using water that contained mercury.
The mercury had been collected from a recent spill that occurred in the home the day before. Apparently, the mercury was brought into the home by the father. His brother found the jar of elemental mercury at work while renovating an old dentist's office. The father saw his brother and a friend with the mercury. He explained to his brother and the brother's friend that mercury is very dangerous. The father was fascinated with the shiny liquid, so decided to bring some home. Both parents decided to keep the jar of mercury out of the child's reach by placing it in a Ziploc bag and storing it in the top of a closet within the home.
The mercury was spilled when the jar containing it was accidentally broken while cleaning the closet. The spill was immediately cleaned and the child's father placed the mercury collected into a water bottle with a small amount of water. The water bottle was left on the counter. The next morning, the mother used the same water bottle to make the child's breakfast. When the mother realized that she had inadvertently fed poison to her baby, she was horrified. The father remembered reading an article in the Lake Charles American Press on the dangers of mercury; they immediately knew to call the Poison Control Center. Afterwards, they rushed the baby to the emergency room. The doctors treated the baby aggressively for several days.
Because of the parents' quick action and the rapid treatment by the attending medical staff, the mercury did not reach the child's bloodstream. Attending physicians expect the baby to make a full recovery without any foreseen developmental problems. The family has shared their story with us because they want to emphasize that the threat of mercury is very real and they want people not to be fooled by mercury's appearance. Even though it looks pretty, mercury is a very dangerous poison that is not to be played or experimented with.