Only on 10: Family speaks out after being exposed to mercury from dental fillings

    Authorities deemed uninhabitable a Fall River apartment building where residents were exposed to mercury. (WJAR)

    The family of a Fall River man who melted dental fillings to get silver, which exposed several people to mercury, is speaking out.

    The girlfriend of the 51-year-old told NBC 10 News on Sunday that her boyfriend opened his eyes and responded to his name but was still in the hospital in critical condition.

    She and her teenage daughter went back to the hospital Sunday night because their mercury levels were high.

    Prior to that, she sat down with NBC 10.

    "Hopefully he will completely pull through this. I know he’s going to be completely devastated with everything that’s happened due to an accident," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

    On Jan. 25, her boyfriend took a bag of unused dental fillings that he had received from his grandfather who was a dentist and attempted to melt them on the stove to get silver to sell for cash.

    “He was bored at home,” the woman said. “We were having trouble with transportation. We did lose our truck, and we needed another vehicle.”

    The very next day, she said their dog died and then her boyfriend started acting strange.

    "He was just using a water bottle thinking it was his cellphone trying to play a game on it," she said.

    On Monday, she said he went to the hospital and was originally treated for pneumonia.

    Within the week her three cats started acting odd and have since died.

    While he was in the hospital, she went looking for an explanation.

    “I spoke with his sister. She said there’s no such thing as liquid silver. It had to be mercury,” she said.

    The woman said she told the hospital and made multiple phone calls looking for resources and help.

    She also called her landlord.

    "I told her, 'I think we have something on that house. I don’t know what it is. It could be mercury," the woman said.

    On Saturday, hazmat crews were brought in to her apartment building, which was deemed unsafe.

    She said she feels awful for everyone affected.

    "We feel sorry for them," she said. "We know how they feel. If we could change it, we definitely would. It was an accident."

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