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Walker County school board member Jim Smith said he believes Friday's mercury spill at LaFayette High School will lead to reform of how the school handles potentially harmful materials.

"That's my opinion -- that there will be a greater security on that kind of thing," he said Sunday.

Smith said about 1 milliliter of mercury ended up on the floor of a classroom after "at least two" students removed a vial from storage.

It was unclear Sunday exactly how the mercury was spilled and if there will be any disciplinary action for the students involved. Smith said the incident happened as a substitute teacher was overseeing the classroom.

One student apparently carried the vial around the school in his book bag, Smith said. Officials quarantined a section of a patio where trace amounts were found as well as roping off the classroom, Smith said.

Mercury, a highly dense element, is used to demonstrate density, Smith said. It's also extremely toxic. Exposure can cause permanent neurological damage and death.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the cleanup.

"The EPA has determined that all the right steps have been taken regarding this incident, but Walker County Schools will continue to monitor areas until the situation has been completely resolved," according to a statement released Sunday by Walker County Schools.

Schools spokeswoman Elaine Womack said LaFayette High's schedule was not affected by the spill.

Smith said one student was taken to the hospital, but no harmful effects were discovered.

"They said at the hospital that some people, just from eating fish, have that level of mercury in their body," he said.

The cleanup and investigation is ongoing, Womack said.

"Really, this is just the beginning," she said.

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