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July 3, 1996

Mercury Exposure Among Residents of a Building Formerly Used for Industrial Purposes—New Jersey, 1995

JAMA. 1996;276(1):17-18. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540010019010

POTENTIAL sources of elemental mercury in residential settings include mercury switches, mercury-containing devices (e.g., thermostats and thermometers), and mercury obtained from laboratories, dental offices, or other industrial sources. In January 1995, pools of elemental mercury were found in a five-story factory building that had been converted to residential use in Hoboken, New Jersey; the building previously had been used to manufacture mercury vapor lamps. This report summarizes the investigation by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Hoboken Board of Health, and the Hudson Regional Health Commission (HRHC), which identified high levels of mercury vapor in the building and indicated that residents had been exposed to high levels of mercury.*

The five-story brick building included 17 condominium units and one attached townhouse with a total of 32 residents; six were children aged