An act relating to comprehensive management of exposure to mercury.
The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill as follows:
First: In Sec. 1, by striking 10 V.S.A. § 7101 and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
§ 7101. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS
The general assembly finds and declares that:
(1) Mercury is a persistent and toxic pollutant that bioaccumulates in the environment and poses a serious threat to humans, particularly young children and the developing fetus, and wildlife.
(2) Recent EPA research concludes that 16 percent of American women of childbearing age have unsafe mercury blood levels, and that the annual number of newborn infants at risk in the United States is 630,000.
(3) The primary means of human exposure to mercury is the consumption of contaminated fish and shellfish.
(4) Vermont and all other northeastern states have issued statewide fish consumption mercury contamination advisories that recommend limiting or avoiding the consumption of certain freshwater fish caught locally.
(5) While the Vermont departments of environmental conservation, fish and wildlife, and health have undertaken a long-term collaboration to monitor and report on fish tissue mercury in Vermont waters, most lakes and streams remain untested. Of the 560 lakes and ponds tracked by the department of environmental conservation, only 60 of the largest have been monitored for fish mercury. For inland lakes, this corresponds to 51 percent of the lake acreage in Vermont. Only 22 river or stream sites have been tested for fish mercury. This current monitoring approach is not designed to track changes in fish mercury over time in response on management actions, and does not address mercury impacts on fish-eating wildlife.
(6) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Vermont department of health recommend limiting the consumption of certain commercial saltwater fish, including canned tuna.
(7) Human exposure to mercury can result in nervous system, kidney, and liver damage and impaired childhood development.
(8) There has been a threefold increase in mercury loading to the environment over the past 150 years. Much of the mercury deposited from the atmosphere is from human and natural sources, but anthropogenic emissions exceed those that occur naturally.
(9) More than one-half of the mercury deposition is from out-of-region sources, with the largest being coal‑burning power plants (utility boilers) and industrial boilers.
(10) While mercury-added switches have been eliminated from currently manufactured U.S. and foreign manufactured motor vehicles, mercury-added switches are still prevalent in end-of-life motor vehicles previously manufactured. Collection programs for these vehicle switches at end-of-life of the vehicle have proven to be a feasible method to reduce a significant source of mercury release to the region.
(11) Implementation of the 1998 New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Mercury Action Plan has led to a decrease in regional mercury emissions of more than 55 percent – primarily due to emissions controls on municipal combustors and medical waste incinerators, both of which burn discarded mercury-added products.
(12) The New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers have set an interim goal in the Mercury Action Plan of 75 percent reduction in anthropogenic emissions by 2010. Achieving this goal will require further reduction measures from in-region combustion sources such as power plants, industrial and commercial boilers, and sewage sludge incinerators, and will require reducing mercury releases that occur through disposal and breakage of products that contain mercury.
(13) Many of the states in the region, including Connecticut, Maine, New York, and Rhode Island, have adopted comprehensive mercury-added product legislation to identify and eliminate unnecessary uses of mercury.
(14) Significant use of mercury-added products occurs in health care facilities, schools, and dental practices, in all of which mercury use or release reduction is technically and economically feasible.
(15) The Mercury Task Force of the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers adopted a goal to reduce dental wastewater discharges of mercury by having 50 percent of dentists install amalgam separators in each state or jurisdiction by the end of 2005.
(16) In 1998, the Vermont general assembly passed legislation requiring labeling of mercury-added products and banned the disposal of these labeled products in landfills. The agency and municipal solid waste districts implemented numerous mercury education and reduction programs to reduce mercury use in products and to collect spent mercury-added products for proper recycling and disposal. Public education is essential to reducing improper disposal of spent mercury-added products.
(17) Vermont’s mercury product legislation passed in 1998 does not comprehensively restrict the sale and use of mercury-added products.
(18) Studies conducted for the state of Maine show that mercury-free alternatives exist for a majority of the thousands of products containing mercury components. These products include thermometers, thermostats, flow meters, barometers, manometers, medical devices, and electrical switches and relays.
(19) Studies conducted for the state of Maine show that manufacturers are beginning to market mercury-free versions of all types of mercury-added button cell and other miniature batteries.
(20) Novelty products using mercury have been banned from sale in several states.
(21) Citizens of Vermont, the Vermont environment, and the agency will benefit from comprehensive mercury product legislation that further reduces mercury emissions and is consistent with model mercury product legislation developed jointly by the northeast states.
Second: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7102, by striking subdivision (2) and renumbering the remaining subdivisions to be numerically correct
Third: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7102, in newly renumbered subdivision (5), defining “Large appliance”, by striking the word “discarded”
Fourth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7104(e), in the first sentence, before the word “business”, by inserting the word “any”
Fifth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7105(e), by striking the following: “Instruments and measuring devices” and inserting the following: “Instruments, measuring devices, and neon signs” and in subdivision (e)(1), after the word “Vermont”, by adding the words “as a new manufactured product”
Sixth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7105(f), in the sentence that begins with the word “Effective”, after the word “Vermont”, by inserting the words: “as a new manufactured product”
Seventh: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7105(h)(1), in the second sentence, before the words “may apply”, by inserting the following: “, who may be a user,”
Eighth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7106(d), in the first sentence, by striking the words “inform the purchaser” and inserting the words: “clearly inform the purchaser or consumer”
Ninth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7106(f), in the first sentence, by striking the words: “and not on the wholesaler or retailer”
Tenth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7106(h), by striking subdivision (1), and inserting the following:
(1)(A) A manufacturer may apply to the agency or the multistate clearinghouse for an alternative to the requirements of subsections (a) through (f) and (i) of this section where:
(i) strict compliance with the requirements is not feasible as determined by the agency;
(ii) the proposed alternative would be at least as effective in providing presale notification of mercury content;
(iii) the proposed alternative would be at least as effective in providing instructions on proper disposal; or
(iv) federal law governs labeling in a manner that preempts state authority.
(B) The agency may approve an alternative concerning a certain product category without application by manufacturers, but the agency must consider other alternatives for the category upon application by a manufacturer for the use of an unapproved alternative.
Eleventh: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7106(h), by adding a subdivision (4) at the end of the subsection to read as follows:
(4) Alternatives that authorize font sizes less than 10-point type that have been approved by the agency prior to the effective date of this chapter shall remain in effect until July 1, 2015.
Twelfth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7106(i), by striking subdivision (3) and inserting the following:
(3)(A)(i) Labeling of products that contain, as their only mercury-added components, one or more lamps not intended to be replaceable by the user or consumer that are used for one or more of the purposes enumerated in this subdivision shall meet all the requirements of subsections (a) through (f) of this section, except no label is required on the internal lamp, no label is required on the package, and no label is required to be visible prior to purchase. A label must be included in the care and use manual or product instructions, if any. Lamp purposes subject to this subdivision shall be:
(II) liquid crystal display (LCD) panel;
(III) scanning images; or
(IV) copying images.
(ii) This subdivision (A) shall apply to products containing lamps used for other purposes, if those products are approved under subsection (h) of this section, except that there need not be compliance in this instance with the requirement established in subdivision (h)(1)(A)(ii), regarding the effectiveness of the proposed alternative.
(B) Labeling of products with a screen or LCD panel less than seven inches on the diagonal that contain, as their only mercury-added components, one or more lamps not intended to be replaceable by the user or consumer that are used for backlighting shall meet all the requirements of subsections (a) through (c) of this section by placing the label on the product or in the care and use manual or product instructions, if any. No label is required on the internal lamp, and no label shall be required to be visible prior to purchase.
(C) Labeling of a product that contains as its only mercury-added components a lamp or lamps at least one of which is intended to be replaceable by the user or consumer must meet the labeling requirements of subsections (a) through (f) of this section, except no label is required to be visible prior to purchase. A label must also be included in the care and use manual or product instructions, if any. If the replaceable lamp is placed within a housing intended to be replaceable by the user or consumer, the housing must also be labeled.
Thirteenth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7109, by striking the last sentence and inserting the following:
No person shall bring elemental mercury onto the premises or into the buildings of schools located in Vermont, including child care facilities, preschools, kindergartens, and primary and secondary schools.
Fourteenth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7110, by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:
(b) Vermont dental offices and vocational dental education programs shall use and instruct on the use of best management practices to minimize the presence of elemental mercury, unused amalgam, and waste amalgam in their wastewater discharge and in their solid waste. The agency shall develop best management practices that include a requirement for an amalgam removal efficiency of at least 95 percent. The required best management practices shall be defined by a procedure of the agency by
January 1, 2006, including reporting requirements to verify compliance with best management practices. The agency shall consult with the Vermont state dental society and other interested parties during the development of the best management practices. Dental offices shall comply with the best management practices.
Fifteenth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7110(c), by striking the third sentence, and inserting the following:
A dental office must demonstrate proper installation, operation, maintenance, and amalgam waste recycling or disposal in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations by maintaining annual records on waste shipment and maintenance of the system and any other reporting required in subsection (b) of this section. Records of the previous three years shall be maintained at all times.
Sixteenth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7110(e), in the first sentence, by striking the words: “mercury-added products” and inserting the following: “dental amalgam”
Seventeenth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7110, by adding subsection (f) to read as follows:
(f) For the purposes of this section:
(1) “Dental amalgam” or “amalgam” means a mixture of mercury and silver alloy that forms a hard solid metal dental restorative material. For purposes of this section, dental amalgam or amalgam shall include mercury and silver alloy precapsulated and ready for mixing.
(2) “Dental office” means any dental clinic, dental office, or dental practice.
Eighteenth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7111, by striking the fourth sentence and inserting the following: The plan will also set target mercury use reduction goals from the 2002 baseline year and will identify measures to be taken by the hospital to reduce mercury in patient care settings through reductions in use of equipment and chemicals containing mercury and through modifications in the hospital’s purchasing policies and procedures with regard to products containing mercury.
Nineteenth: In Sec. 1, 10 V.S.A. § 7113(a), after the following: “one public health specialist;” by adding the following: “one hospital representative;”
Twentieth: In Sec. 4, subsection (b), in the second sentence, by striking the word “manufactured” and by inserting the word “sold”
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street