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Category Press Release
Publish Date 8/2/2023
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Health Advisory Issued by Contra Costa Health Following Mercury Discovery
Introduction LA Testing offers mercury and other heavy metal testing services, sampling supplies and personal protective equipment to identify and mitigate exposure risks.

Huntington Beach, CA, August 2, 2023 

A health advisory was issued in May by Contra Costa Health (CCH) after an ambulance responding to an unrelated emergency call reported suspected mercury. The hazardous metal was located in the parking lot of the Martinez Amtrak station. 

According to CCH, a hazardous materials team responded and found a substantial quantity of mercury on the ground. CCH reported health officials believe the mercury was placed in a garbage can in the station parking lot. It was then unknowingly removed by a city crew emptying trash cans. Traces of mercury that dripped from the truck along the city crew's route were also discovered. In response, cleanup crews spent the next week neutralizing and removing all detectable mercury from more than 4,000 feet of roads. 

Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil. It exists in several forms, including elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds and organic mercury compounds. Pure mercury is a liquid metal that volatilizes readily and is often referred to as quicksilver. 

“The CCH public health advisory was issued to mitigate the potential for residents and visitors that might walk through contaminated areas of the street from tracking the mercury indoors,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “If brought indoors, the heavy metal could cause long-term health concerns as mercury is a known neurotoxin.” 

To help in these types of situations, LA Testing’s California laboratories offer environmental testing for mercury and other hazardous materials. These tests can be used to identify the scope of the hazard, document the contamination, and then following cleanup actions, verify environmental conditions are once again safe. LA Testing also provides sampling supplies and personal protective equipment. They have even sponsored an educational video about mercury exposure and health effects that can be seen at: 

To learn more about mercury or other environmental, material, occupational, health and safety testing resources, please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794.  

About LA Testing

LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for environmental, indoor air quality and material testing for mercury, asbestos, mold, bacteria, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC Elite, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro and San Diego.

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