Titusville, Christmas post offices temporarily shut down due to mercury incident: USPS

UPDATE: The Christmas Post Office is now up and running as of June 4, according to an update from USPS. 

Original story continues below:

Two post offices in Central Florida – in Titusville and Christmas – have temporarily closed after an incident involving a small amount of mercury that was mailed this week, according to a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service. 

The incident at the Titusville Post Office happened May 27, and the incident at the Christmas Post Office happened "recently," although USPS did not specify when. The postal agency has since implemented its emergency preparedness procedures, which includes containing the hazardous material and ensuring the safety of all employees. USPS said all mail from customers remains safe. 

Titusville customers can visit the Cocoa Post Office at 2000 SR-524 to mail and ship packages and buy stamps, or visit the parking lot pop-up service to retrieve their mail. Christmas customers can visit the Oviedo location at 83 Geneva Drive. 

Metallic mercury and devices containing metallic mercury are prohibited from being mailed, including thermometers, barometers and blood pressure monitors, the post office said. Compact florescent lamps are allowed to be mailed within the U.S., but not internationally. 

It remains unclear at this time who mailed the mercury and in what form. 

USPS issued the following reminder to customers about mailing hazardous materials:

Improper, undeclared, or prohibited hazmat (hazardous material) shipping can have serious consequences for everyone involved. Full responsibility rests with the mailer to comply with all Postal Service and non–Postal Service laws and regulations in the mailing of hazardous material. Anyone who mails, or causes to be mailed, a nonmailable or improperly packaged hazardous material can be subject to legal penalties (i.e., fines and/or imprisonment), including but not limited to, those specified in 18 U.S.C. The transport of hazardous materials prior to entry as U.S. Mail and after receipt from the Postal Service is subject to Department of Transportation regulations.

If a person knowingly mails items or materials that are dangerous or injurious to life, health, or property, they may face a civil penalty of at least $250, but not more than $100,000 per violation, the costs of any cleanup associated with each violation, and damages. They may also face criminal penalties.

The Postal Service is committed to the safety and security of its employees, its customers, and its transportation networks and will remain vigilant in safeguarding the mail stream against any article that might pose a hazard to health, safety, property, or the environment. 

USPS said it expects to reopen the Titusville Post Office in the coming days. An update on when the Christmas location would open was not immediately made available.