LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - The cost to clean a West Texas school where a student took a container of mercury he says he found has reached nearly $900,000.
Ector County Independent School District spokesman Mike Adkins on Monday said that figure could rise once all invoices are received from companies that cleaned John B. Hood Junior High School in Odessa.
As many as 70 people were taken to hospitals March 18 after exposure to the toxic element. No one was injured.
A ninth-grader told officials he found the mercury in a plastic bottle in an alley on the way to school.
More than 500 items had to be thrown away during the school cleanup. Students attended a different school until April 3.
Mercury is most dangerous when heated because poisonous vapors can be inhaled.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)