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ACT NO. 13


Conservation; mercury

This act establishes a comprehensive approach to reducing the exposure of citizens to mercury released in the environment through mercury-added product use and disposal. It authorizes the agency of natural resources to participate in regional efforts to coordinate mercury product regulation with other states and entities in the Northeast. It requires that manufacturers of mercury-added products provide certain notice to the agency and report on total mercury contained in certain products. It proposes to ban the distribution or offering for sale of mercury-added novelties, fever thermometers, thermostats, and dairy manometers after a certain date and to restrict the use of elemental mercury. It proposes to restrict the distribution and sale of other mercury-added measuring devices and mercury switches and relays after a certain date unless an exemption is granted by the agency under specified criteria, including lack of technically feasible alternatives at a reasonable cost. It proposes to modify the existing labeling requirements for mercury-added products and packaging by expanding the types of products subject to labeling, including formulated mercury-added chemical products. It proposes to allow alternative product labeling methods and specifies labeling methods that are approved for large appliances, motor vehicles, and products containing mercury-added lamps as backlighting. It proposes to require manufacturers of mercury-added products to submit certified labeling plans to the agency for approval. It proposes that mercury-added button cell batteries and photographic film are not subject to labeling requirements. It proposes to ban disposal of mercury-added products in landfills and incinerators, to require source separation of discarded mercury-added products, and to require solid waste management facilities to inform customers of disposal bans and collection programs for mercury-added products. It proposes to require the agency of natural resources to conduct a stu dy of methods to remove effectively and feasibly mercury-added components from automobiles, appliances, and other equipment at solid waste management facilities and metal salvaging businesses. It proposes to prohibit the purchase and use of mercury-added products and elemental mercury in primary and secondary schools. It proposes that dental offices be required to follow mercury waste management practices as established by the agency and to install dental amalgam separators on the wastewater discharge by a certain date if mercury-added dental amalgam is used in or removed from patients. It proposes to require hospitals to submit a mercury reduction plan to the agency every three years and to exempt hospitals that achieve 95 percent reduction in mercury-added product use. It proposes to continue a mercury public education and outreach program in the agency of natural resources and the department of health. It proposes to continue an advisory committee on mercury pollution to report annually to the legisla ture with recommendations on reducing mercury contamination and risk. It proposes that the agency and the department of health develop a research plan to understand better current trends of mercury contaminant levels in fish and water bodies and report to the legislature on matters, including the cost to implement the plan.

Effective Date: July 1, 2005

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont