Emergency Response Division Calls

Emergency Services – Drugs

MDEQ plays a non-prosecutorial role in the disposal of clandestine Methamphedamine drug labs The removal of dangerous or hazardous material used in the production of these drugs from an actual lab is handled by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) COPS program. However, should such materials be dumped by criminals away from the actual lab, MDEQ is responsible for the safe disposal of those materials. Any suspected drug activity should be reported to local law enforcement, the Bureau of Narcotics (601) 371-3600 or 1-800-844-6272 or the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (504) 840-1100.

Emergency Services – Mercury
What is Mercury?

Mercury is a metal, identified on the Periodic Table by the symbol HG. It occurs naturally in small amounts in the environment. Because it remains liquid at room temperature, it is used in many consumer products however it can be harmful to both animals and humans.

Dangers of Mercury?

When liquid mercury is spilled, it forms droplets that can accumulate in the tiniest of spaces and in small pools and droplets and then emit vapors in the air. Mercury vapor in the air is odorless, colorless and very toxic.Whole families have been poisoned from mercury spills in the home which have not been cleaned up or were cleaned up improperly using an ordinary vacuum cleaner. *Note- The small amount of mercury in a fever thermometer or flourescent bulb is not likely to cause a problem but should still be cleaned up.

What are the health risks of Mercury?

Health problems caused by mercury depend on how much has entered the body, how it enters the body, length of exposure and how the body responds to mercury. Children are more susceptible to mercury poisoning than adults. Levels of mercury can be measured in blood, urine, and scalp hair.EPA’s Mercury web site presents information on health effects related to exposures to vapors from metallic mercury. For additional information on health effects, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR) provides a Mercury fact sheet that also presents information on health effects related to exposures to vapors from metallic mercury.

Exposure to small amounts of mercury over long periods of time may cause damage to:
  • Brain
  • Kidney
  • Lungs
  • A developing fetus
Immediate effects of brief contact to mercury:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in behavior and personality

Mercury Response Guide

Emergency Services – Natural Disasters

MDEQ assists the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies in the preparations and cleanup in the event of natural disasters like hurricanes, dam breaks, flooding.

Emergency Services – Spills

Emergency Services works with any local, state, or federal agency including the U.S. EPA, U.S. Coast Guard, local fire departments and law enforcement, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Department of Health, U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, etc.

Emergency Services – Terrorism

Since September 11, 2001, Emergency Services has been involved in nearly weekly meetings, training, and
the planning of doing something related to terrorism. MDEQ had been working on a terrorism response with
the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and other agencies since 1999. The agencies were
prepared but did not think anything would actually happen. After September 11, that group of agencies
developed into a completely new program with one goal in mind…to prevent such incidents where possible, and to
be able as a unified group to respond and put an end to the fallout, etc., from a terrorist act. In planning sessions all
across the state, five separate Regional Response Teams have been developed and five more will be created in the
near future, each with experts that can address the different challenges and problems a terrorist attack can present.
To learn more abut the Regional Response Teams and the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, click here.

Emergency Services – Mold

MDEQ enforces rules for building demolitions and renovations; however, this does not include residential housing (except for apartment buildings with four or more units, projects with multiple residential buildings at a site, residential installations, or some larger projects). The MDEQ asbestos program provides compliance inspections for building renovations and demolitions to comply with National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), and also for nonprofit schools to comply with the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). Symptoms of Asbestosis will often take 15-30 years after exposure conditions before they appear. Asbestos fibers are about 1/100th the thickness of human hair and cannot be seen without the aid of a microscope. Avoid damaging asbestos containing materials by grinding, sanding, sawing, etc. If asbestos containing materials in your home must be disturbed, consult your local yellow pages for a qualified contractor. Contractors working on nonresidential buildings must be certified by the MDEQ certification branch. A list of certified inspectors and contractors can be obtained from MDEQ. Contact Tommy Moody at (601) 961-5355.

IAQ – Mold and Other Common Indoor Pollutants