EPA: Company may have exacerbated risks after mercury spills

02/9/2009 | San Francisco Chronicle

Two demolition-crew accidents at a Searles Valley Minerals chemical plant in California's Mojave Desert resulted in the largest mercury spill in the West in two decades, according to an EPA official. In initially understating the amount of mercury that had been spilled and failing to follow proper procedures for reporting the spills, the company may have worsened the health risks to six demolition workers, the agency said. Company officials said they have cooperated with the EPA's investigation, and that the Sept. 24 spill was inadvertent and the Oct. 10 spill occurred because of a contractor's error.

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