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Introduced by   Representative Deen of Westminster

Referred to Committee on


Subject: Conservation; mercury

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to establish a comprehensive approach to reducing the exposure of citizens to mercury released in the environment through mercury-added product use and disposal.  This bill proposes to authorize the agency of natural resources to participate in regional efforts to coordinate mercury product regulation with other states and entities in the Northeast.  It proposes to require 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 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 study 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 legislature 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.


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. chapter 164 is added to read:

Chapter 164.  Comprehensive Mercury Management


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)  Much of the mercury deposited from the atmosphere is from human and natural sources, but anthropogenic emissions exceed those that occur naturally.

(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)  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.

(6)  Human exposure to mercury can result in nervous system, kidney, and liver damage and impaired childhood development.

(7)  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.

(8)  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.

(9)  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.

(10)  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.

(11)  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.

(12)  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.

(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)  Vermont’s mercury product legislation passed in 1998 does not comprehensively restrict the sale and use of mercury-added products.

(15)  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.

(16)  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.

(17)  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.

(18)  Mercury use in novelty products has been banned from sale in several states.

(19)  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.

(20)  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.


As used in this chapter:

(1)  “Agency” means the Vermont agency of natural resources.

(2)  “Component” means a mercury‑added product which is incorporated into another product to form a fabricated mercury‑added product, including electrical switches, relays, and lamps.

(3)  “Elemental mercury” means the chemical symbol Hg.  Elemental Hg is a silvery-white liquid (at room temperature) with an atomic number of 80 and an atomic mass of 200.57.

(4)  “Fabricated mercury-added product” means a product that consists of a combination of individual components that combine to make a single unit, including mercury-added measuring devices, lamps, and switches.

(5)  “Formulated mercury-added product” means a product that is sold as a consistent mixture of chemicals to which mercury or a mercury compound has been intentionally added in order to provide a specific characteristic, appearance, or quality, or to perform a specific function, or for any other reason.  This includes laboratory chemicals, cleaning products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and coating materials.  For the purposes of this chapter, formulated mercury-added product does not include pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical products, biological products. or any substance that may be lawfully sold over the counter without a prescription under the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, 21 U.S.C. 301 et seq. “Biological Product” means a virus, therapeutic serum, toxin, antitoxin, vaccine, blood, blood component or derivative, allergenic product or an analogous product, or asphenamine (a derivative of arsphenamine) or any other trivalent organic arsenic compound used for the prevention, treatment, or cure of a disease or condition of human beings.

(6)  “Large appliance” includes the following items:  discarded refrigerators, washing machines, clothes dryers, ranges, water heaters, dishwashers, freezers, microwave ovens, air conditioners, portable heaters, and other similar domestic and commercial appliances as may be identified by the agency by rule.

(7)(A)  “Manufacturer” means any person, firm, association, partnership, corporation, governmental entity, organization, combination, or joint venture that (i) produces a mercury-added product, or (ii) serves as an importer or domestic distributor of a mercury-added product produced outside the United States. 

(B)  This definition shall not apply to retailers for whom importing is not their primary business. 

(C)  In the case of a multi-component mercury-added product, the manufacturer is the last manufacturer to produce or assemble the product.

(8)  “Mercury-added component” means a mercury‑added product that is incorporated into another product to form a fabricated mercury‑added product, including electrical switches, relays, and lamps.

(9)  “Mercury-added novelty” means a mercury-added product intended mainly for personal or household enjoyment or adornment.  Mercury-added novelties include items intended for use as practical jokes, figurines, adornments, toys, games, cards, ornaments, yard statues and figures, candles, jewelry, holiday decorations, items of apparel (including footwear), and similar products.

(10)  “Mercury-added product” means a product, a commodity, a chemical, a product with one or more components, or a product that cannot function without the use of that component, that contains mercury or a mercury compound intentionally added to the product, commodity, chemical, or component in order to provide a specific characteristic, appearance, or quality, or to perform a specific function, or for any other reason.  These products include formulated mercury-added products and fabricated mercury-added products.

(11)  “Mercury fever thermometer” means a mercury-added product that is used for measuring body temperature.  This does not include a fever thermometer with a mercury-added button cell battery.

(12)  “Motor vehicle” means a vehicle propelled by an internal combustion engine or an electric motor, such as an automobile, van, truck, motorized construction equipment, motorized recreational vehicle, motorcycle, and forklift.


The agency is authorized to participate in the establishment and implementation of a regional, multistate clearinghouse to assist in carrying out the requirements of this chapter and to coordinate state review of manufacturer notification under section 7104 of this title, applications for alternative product labeling under section 7106 of this title, exemption requests from product sale restrictions under section 7105 of this title, education and outreach activities, and to coordinate any other activities related to the administration of this chapter.  Notwithstanding 1 V.S.A. § 317,  the agency may provide the multistate clearinghouse with product information submitted to the department under section 7104 of this title, and the agency and the multistate clearinghouse may compile or publish analyses or summaries of such information, provided the analyses or summaries do not identify any manufacturer or reveal any confidential information.


(a)  Effective July 1, 2006, no mercury-added product may be offered for final sale, sold at a final sale, or distributed in Vermont, unless the manufacturer or its designated industrial trade group gives prior notification in writing to the agency or the multistate clearinghouse described in 7103 of this chapter, as provided in this section.  This notification, in a form approved by the agency, at a minimum shall include:

(1)  A brief description of the product or category of products to be offered for sale or distributed;

(2)  The purpose for which mercury is used in each individual product or category of products;

(3)  The amount of mercury in each unit of the product or category of products, reported as an exact number, or in one of the following ranges: greater than zero through five milligrams, greater than five milligrams through 10 milligrams, greater than 10 milligrams through 50 milligrams, greater than 50 milligrams through 100 milligrams, greater than 100 milligrams through 1,000 milligrams, or greater than 1,000 milligrams;

(4)  The name and address of the manufacturer, or manufacturers, and the name, address, and phone number of a contact person for the manufacturer; and

(5)  The total amount of mercury in all units of the product or product components sold in the United States during the most recent calendar year for which sales figures are available, reported either for the units or components sold by the manufacturer or as aggregated by a manufacturer trade association for all units of the product or components made by the industry.

(b)  With the approval of the agency or multistate clearinghouse, the manufacturer may supply the information required in this section for a product category rather than an individual product.  The manufacturer or its designated industrial trade group shall revise the information in the notification whenever there is a significant change in the information or when requested by the agency or the multistate clearinghouse.  The information required under subdivision (a)(5) of this section, must be updated and provided to the agency or multistate clearinghouse every three years on a date established through the multistate clearinghouse.

(c)  Notwithstanding subdivision (a)(3) of this section, the manufacturer of a product containing one or more mercury-added components is not required to include information on the amount of mercury in the component in the notice to the agency or multistate clearinghouse, if the component manufacturer has provided that information to the agency or clearinghouse and the manufacturer of the product that contains the component identifies the component and component manufacturer in the notice.

(d)  The requirements of this section do not apply to drugs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration or to any mercury-added product for which federal law governs notice in a manner that preempts state authority.

(e)  Public disclosure of business information submitted to the agency pursuant to this section shall be governed by the requirements of 1 V.S.A. § 317.  Notwithstanding the provisions of 1 V.S.A. § 317, the agency may provide the multistate clearinghouse with copies of that information, and the agency, in consultation with the clearinghouse, may compile or publish analyses or summaries of that information, provided the analyses or summaries do not identify any manufacturer or reveal any confidential information.



(a)  Novelties.  After July 1, 2006, no mercury-added novelty may be offered for final sale, sold at a final sale, or distributed in Vermont.  This ban on sale or distribution shall not apply to a novelty incorporating one or more mercury‑added lamps as its only mercury-added component or components.  Manufacturers that produce and sell mercury-added novelties must notify retailers about the provisions of this product ban and how to return the remaining inventory to the manufacturer. 

(b)  Thermometers and thermostats.  After July 1, 2006, no mercury fever thermometer or mercury-containing thermostat for the control of space heating or cooling may be offered for final sale, sold at a final sale, or distributed in Vermont

(c)  Dairy manometers.  After January 1, 2006, no mercury dairy manometer may be offered for final sale, sold at a final sale, or distributed in Vermont, with the exception of a mercury dairy manometer purchased by a licensed dairy service provider to calibrate customers’ manometers and other milking equipment.  The agency of agriculture, food and markets will notify dairy service providers of this product ban, and how to dispose properly of remaining inventory.  The Vermont agency of agriculture, food and markets and Vermont solid waste districts and municipalities will continue their education, outreach, and assistance programs for dairy farms, focusing on the hazards of mercury, and encouraging dairy farmers to replace their mercury‑containing manometers with mercury-free alternatives in an effort to help further reduce mercury in the environment.

(d)  Elemental mercury.

(1)  Effective July 1, 2006, no person may sell or provide elemental mercury to another person in Vermont, except for manufacturing or recycling or disposal purposes, without providing a “material safety data sheet,” as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 11049, and requiring the purchaser or recipient to sign a statement that the purchaser:

(A)  Will use the mercury only for medical or research purposes;

(B)  Understands that mercury is toxic, and the purchaser will store and use it appropriately so that no person is exposed to the mercury; and

(C)  Will not place the mercury in solid waste for disposal or in a wastewater treatment and disposal system, and will not allow anyone under the purchaser’s control to place or cause mercury to be placed in such a location.

(2)  Effective July 1, 2006, no person may purchase elemental mercury from someone outside the state of Vermont for use in Vermont without a certified statement from the purchaser provided to the agency, certifying that the conditions specified in subdivision (1) of this subsection, if applicable, have been met.  These conditions shall not apply to the sale or provision of elemental mercury for manufacturing, recycling, or disposal purposes.  

(e)  Instruments and measuring devices.

(1)  Effective January 1, 2007, none of the following mercury-added products may be offered for final sale, sold at a final sale, or distributed in Vermont:

(A)  A barometer;

(B)  An esophageal dilator, bougie tube, or gastrointestinal tube;

(C)  A flow meter;

(D)  A hydrometer;

(E)  A hygrometer or psychrometer;

(F)  A manometer other than a manometer prohibited from sale under subsection (c) of this section;

(G)  A pyrometer;

(H)  A sphygmomanometer;

(I)  A thermometer that contains elemental mercury, other than a mercury fever thermometer.

(J)  A mercury-added neon type sign or lamp.

(2)  This prohibition does not apply to the sale of a mercury-added product listed in subdivisions (1)(A) – (J) of this subsection if use of the product is a federal requirement, or if the only mercury-added component of the product is a button cell battery.

(f)  Mercury switches and relays.  Effective January 1, 2007, no mercury switch or mercury relay, individually or as a product component, may be offered for final sale, sold at a final sale, or distributed in Vermont.  This subsection does not apply to the sale of a mercury switch or mercury relay if the manufacturer provides satisfactory documentation that the use of the switch or relay is a federal requirement.

(g)  Exclusion for existing equipment.  The prohibitions in subsections (e) and (f) of this section do not apply if the switch, relay, or measuring device is used to replace a switch, relay, or measuring device which is a component of a larger product in use prior to January 1, 2007, provided the owner of that equipment has made every reasonable effort to determine that no compatible nonmercury replacement component exists.

(h)  Exemptions.

(1)  A manufacturer of a mercury-added switch, relay, or measuring device may apply to the agency and notify the multistate clearinghouse for an exemption from the sales ban in subsections (e) and (f) of this section, provided that exemption shall be for not more than five years.  With agency approval, an agent of the manufacturer may apply for an exemption.

(2)  The manufacturer or agent of the manufacturer seeking an exemption to offer for sale, sell, or distribute a switch, relay, or measuring device in Vermont after January 1, 2007 shall apply for the exemption not later than March 1, 2006.  Exemption applications for new types of switches, relays, or measuring devices developed and intended to begin initial sale or distribution after January 1, 2007 must be received at least nine months prior to the intended offer for sale, the sale, or the distribution in Vermont.

(3)  Application for the exemption or exemption renewal shall be on a form and be supported by the information and materials required by the agency.  The exemption application shall document the basis for the requested exemption or renewal of exemption and describe how the manufacturer will ensure that a system exists for the proper collection, transportation, and processing of the switches, relays, or measuring devices at the end of their useful life.

(4)  The agency may grant an exemption with or without conditions upon findings that:

(A)  A system exists for the proper collection, transportation, and processing of the product at the end of its life, including a system for the direct return of a waste product to the manufacturer or a collection and recycling system that is supported by an industry or trade group, or other similar private or public sector efforts; and

(B)  One of the following applies:

(i)  Use of the product provides a net benefit to the environment, public health, or public safety when compared to available nonmercury alternatives; or

(ii)  Technically feasible alternatives are not available at reasonable cost.

(C)  With respect to renewals of an exemption, in addition to subdivisions (A) and (B) of this subdivision (4), reasonable efforts have been made to remove mercury from the product.

(5)  Prior to issuing an exemption or conditional exemption, the agency may consult with the multistate clearinghouse and other states to promote consistency in the implementation of this section.

(6)  The agency may renew, for a period not longer than five years, an exemption or conditional exemption one or more times if the manufacturer applies for renewal, and the agency finds that the manufacturer meets the requirements for that exemption, and that the manufacturer has complied with all the conditions of the original approval.  With agency approval, an agent of the manufacturer may apply for the exemption renewal.


(a)  No mercury-added product may be offered for final sale, sold at a final sale, or distributed in Vermont after July 1, 2007, unless both the product and its packaging are labeled in accordance with this section.  This requirement also may be met by compliance with the terms of any approved alternative labeling method granted under subsection (h) or (i) of this section.  A retailer may not be found in violation of this subsection if the retailer lacked knowledge that the product contained mercury.

(b)  This section shall not apply to mercury-added button cell batteries, photographic film, or the packaging of these products.

(c)  If a mercury‑added component is part of another product, the product containing the component, the component, and the product package must be labeled.  The label on a product containing a mercury‑added component shall identify the component with sufficient detail so that it may be readily located for removal.

(d)  All labels must be legible and must inform the purchaser, using words or symbols, in a minimum of 10 point type, that mercury is present in the product and clearly specify that the mercury-added product should not be disposed of or placed in a waste stream destined for disposal until the mercury is removed and reused, recycled, or otherwise managed to ensure that the mercury in the product does not become mixed with other solid waste or wastewater.  Component, product, and package labels must be placed such that they are clearly visible.  A label must also be visible prior to sale.

(e)  Labels affixed to the product or any component shall be constructed of materials that are sufficiently durable to remain legible for the useful life of the product.

(f)  Responsibility for product and package labels required under this section shall be on the manufacturer and not on the wholesaler or retailer.  In the case of a multi-component product in which a mercury-added component is included, the responsible manufacturer is the last manufacturer to produce or assemble the product.  In the case of a mercury‑added product imported from a foreign country, the importer shall assure the manufacturer has complied with this section before the offering for final sale or distribution of the product in Vermont

(g)  Any mercury-added product for which federal law governs labeling in a manner that preempts state authority shall be exempt from the requirements of this section.  This section shall not apply to prescription drugs or any substance that may lawfully be sold over the counter without a prescription under the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.

(h)  Alternative methods of labeling are as follows:

(1)  A manufacturer may apply to the agency and the multistate clearinghouse for an alternative to the requirements of subsections (a) through (f) and (i) of this section where:  strict compliance with the requirements is not feasible as determined by the agency; the proposed alternative would be at least as effective in providing presale notification of mercury content and in providing instructions on proper disposal; or federal law governs labeling in a manner that preempts state authority.  The agency may approve an alternative concerning a certain product category without application by manufacturers, but must consider other alternatives for the category upon application.

(2)  Applications for an alternative to the requirements of subsections (a) through (f) and (i) of this section must:

(A)  Document the justification for the requested alternative;

(B)  Describe how the alternative ensures that purchasers or recipients of mercury‑added products are made aware of mercury content prior to purchase or receipt;

(C)  Describe how a person discarding the mercury-added product will be made aware of the need for proper handling to ensure that it does not become part of solid waste or wastewater;

(D)  Document the readiness of all necessary parties to implement the proposed alternative; and

(E)  Describe the performance measures to be utilized by the manufacturer to demonstrate that the alternative is providing effective presale notification and predisposal notification.

(3)  The agency may grant, deny, or approve with modifications or conditions a request for an alternative to the requirements of subsections (a) through (f) and (j) of this section.  This approval of an alternative shall be for a period, specified by the agency, of no less than two years.  The agency may review alternatives and modify or condition a previously approved alternative after providing notice to the affected parties.  Modifications shall be implemented within a time frame approved by the agency, which shall not exceed two years.  Requests for renewals shall be submitted 90 days before the expiration of the approval.  Prior to approving an alternative, the agency may consult with states, provinces, and regional organizations to review consistency with other states that have similar legislation.

(i)  The following alternative methods of labeling for specific products are approved, and no further agency approval is required:

(1)  Labeling of a large appliance sold in a store where that appliance is on display shall meet all requirements of subsections (a) through (f) of this section, except that no package labeling is required.

(2)  Labeling of all new motor vehicles shall meet all the requirements of subsections (a) through (f) of this section, except that the mercury-added components are not required to be labeled.  A doorpost label applied by the manufacturer shall list the mercury-added components that may be present on the vehicle.  Only in the case of a trade of a new vehicle by a dealer with a dealer in another state shall the motor vehicle dealer be responsible for applying the doorpost label to the vehicle.  No labeling of used motor vehicles shall be required.  For motor vehicles without doorposts, label placement will be subject to the approval of the agency.

(3)  Labeling of products that contain lamps used for backlighting as the only mercury-added components, except where used in motor vehicles, shall meet all the requirements of subsections (a) through (f) of this section, except no label is required on the internal lamp or package.  In addition, a label must be included in the care and use manual or product instructions, if any.  This section does not apply to motor vehicles that contain lamps used for backlighting.

(j)  No later than October 1, 2006, each manufacturer required to label by this section shall certify to the agency that it has developed a labeling plan for its mercury-added products that complies with this section, and that this labeling plan shall be implemented for products offered for final sale, sold at a final sale, or distributed in Vermont after July 1, 2007.  The labeling plan shall include detailed descriptions of the products involved and the label size, font size, material, wording, location, and attachment method for each product and for the product packaging.  The plan shall include how prior-to-sale notification will be provided, if required.  The plan, together with the certification, must be submitted to the agency and the multistate clearinghouse for approval.  If a manufacturer has an approved certified labeling plan on file with the agency, the manufacturer must provide an update no later than October 1, 2006 identifying changes, if any, to the product or manufacturer's contact information and shall include all information required in this section.  The update must be submitted in writing to the agency and identified as an amendment to the plan.  Any changes in labeling methods for products or product categories already approved under the existing plan in order to comply with new labeling requirements must be submitted and reviewed by the agency for approval.


(a)  Management of discarded mercury‑added products.  After July 1, 2007, discarded mercury-added products, except for mercury-added button cell batteries, products containing mercury-added button cell batteries as their only mercury-added components, and photographic film shall be managed as follows:

(1)  Disposal ban.  No person shall knowingly dispose of mercury-added products in a solid waste landfill or combustor.

(2)  Source separation.  Except as otherwise provided by this section, every person who discards solid waste shall separate mercury-added products from that solid waste for management as hazardous waste or universal hazardous waste, according to all applicable state and federal regulations.  Any contractor who replaces or removes mercury-added products shall assure that any discarded mercury-added product is subject to proper separation and management as a hazardous waste or universal hazardous waste.

(b)  Solid waste transfer, combustion facility, and landfill facility requirements:

(1)  Disposal ban.  Effective July 1, 2007, the owner and operator of a solid waste landfill, transfer station, or combustion facility shall not knowingly accept for disposal mercury-added products.

(2)  Notification of disposal ban.  Effective July 1, 2007, solid waste transfer facilities, solid waste combustion facilities, and landfill facilities shall implement the following minimum mechanisms to notify the public and haulers of the disposal ban:

(A)  Posting of clearly visible and easily read signs at the facility, providing notice of the prohibition of the disposal and combustion of mercury‑added products; and

(B)  Providing customers information about collection programs and facilities that are permitted to accept mercury-added products.

(c)  Removal of mercury-added components.  The agency shall conduct a study and make recommendations for requirements to remove effectively and feasibly mercury-added components in products prior to disposal or recycling processes.  This report shall identify removal and collection systems at public and private solid waste management facilities and salvage businesses, manufacturer-sponsored or operated collection and take‑back programs; and other feasible programs.  The agency will identify costs and mechanisms for financing such programs.  The study shall address removal and collection of mercury-added components in automobiles and the collection of switches, relays, and gauges in home appliances, heating devices, and other equipment.  The agency shall report to the legislature no later than January 15, 2006.

(d)  Exemption for certain federally regulated products.  If a formulated mercury-added product is a cosmetic or pharmaceutical product subject to the federal Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory requirements relating to mercury, the product is exempt from the requirements of this section.

(e)  Exemption for solidified latex paint.  Formulated mercury-added latex paint solidified for disposal is exempt from the requirements of this section.

§ 7108.  RESERVED


After July 1, 2006, no school in Vermont may use, or purchase for use, in a primary or secondary nonvocational education program, any of the following:  elemental mercury, chemicals containing mercury or mercury compounds, or mercury-added measuring devices.  Other mercury-added products that are used by schools are not subject to this prohibition.  No person shall bring elemental mercury onto the premises or into the buildings of a primary or secondary school in Vermont.



(a)  Dental amalgam, a formulated mercury-added product, shall not be regulated by any other sections of this chapter.

(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 required best management practices may be defined by procedure of the agency, including reporting requirements to verify compliance with best management practices.  The agency shall consult with the Vermont state dental society on developing best management practices.  For the purposes of this section, a dental office means any dental clinic, dental office, or dental practice.

(c)  No later than January 1, 2007, a dental office that in the course of treating its patients places or removes dental amalgam must install an amalgam separator system in the wastewater discharge line.  For the purposes of this section, an amalgam separator system means a device that removes dental amalgam from the waste stream prior to discharge into either the local public wastewater system or a private septic system located at the dental facility and that has been certified as conforming to the standards of ISO 11143, Dental Equipment – Amalgam Separators.  A dental office must demonstrate proper installation, operation, maintenance, and amalgam waste recycling or disposal in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations by maintaining, for a period of three years, all records on waste shipment and maintenance of the system and any other reporting required in subsection (b) of this section.

(d)  Exemptions.

(1)  The following categories of dental offices are exempt from the requirement to install an amalgam separator:

(A)  Orthodontists;

(B)  Periodontists;

(C)  Endodontists;

(D)  Oral and maxillofacial surgeons;

(E)  A dental office that is scheduled to no longer be used as a dental office after July 1, 2007.

(F)  Any other dental office that does not place or remove amalgam.

(2)  A dental office in subdivision (1) of this subsection shall be exempt only if all dentists practicing at the site using a shared vacuum system qualify for an exemption.

(e)  The agency shall conduct a survey of dental offices once every five years, beginning July 1, 2006, to ascertain the use of mercury-added products.  The survey results shall be provided to the advisory committee on mercury pollution for inclusion in their report to the general assembly.  The agency shall consult with the Vermont state dental society for assistance in conducting the survey.


By July 1, 2006, each hospital in Vermont shall submit a mercury reduction plan to the agency, consistent with guidance provided by the agency.  The plan will cover all patient care sites owned or operated by the hospital.  The plan shall identify and quantify mercury use and disposal related to patient care, including equipment and chemicals to the extent known through mercury content information provided by manufacturers or maintained by the agency through labeling plans and notification.  The plan will also set target mercury use reduction goals from a baseline year determined by the hospital 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.  An updated plan shall be submitted on July 1, 2009 and each three years thereafter.  The agency may exempt a hospital from future plan updates if the hospital has achieved greater than 95 percent reduction in mercury use from the baseline year and has demonstrated to the agency that written purchasing policies are in place to minimize or eliminate mercury use in products.


(a)  The agency and the department of health, in concert with other relevant state agencies, may implement a comprehensive public education, outreach, and assistance program for households, hazardous waste generators, municipalities, and solid waste management districts, small businesses, health care facilities, scrap metal facilities, dismantlers, institutions, schools, and other interested groups.  These public education, outreach, and assistance programs should focus on the hazards of mercury, particularly those associated with the consumption of fresh and saltwater fish; the requirements and obligations of individuals, manufacturers, and agencies under this chapter; and voluntary efforts that individuals, institutions, and businesses can undertake to help further reduce mercury in the environment.  These programs may also provide information to retailers, wholesalers, and the public on what products contain mercury, including those considered to be banned novelty items under section 7105 of this title; information on possible nonmercury alternatives; and information on products that do contain mercury, but may be environmentally beneficial.  The agency shall cooperate with manufacturers of mercury‑added products and other affected businesses in the development and implementation of any public education and technical assistance programs.  The agency and the department of health may assist the municipalities and solid waste management districts in developing, designing, and disseminating information for the public about mercury‑added products, the requirements of the law regarding the source separation of waste mercury‑added products, and the collection programs that are available to the public, including any manufacturer-based reverse distribution system.  A component of this information may be directed specifically at large public and private institutions that use and discard substantial numbers of waste mercury‑added products and at any other large users of those products.

(b)  The agency shall cooperate with neighboring states and provinces and regional organizations in the northeastern United States and Canada to develop any outreach, assistance, and education programs, where appropriate.

(c)  The agency may develop an awards program to recognize the accomplishments of manufacturers, municipalities, solid waste management facilities, solid waste recycling facilities, household hazardous waste collection facilities, citizens, or others who go beyond the minimum requirements established under this chapter, and excel at reducing or eliminating mercury in air emissions, solid waste, and wastewater discharges.


(a)  There is created an advisory committee on mercury pollution to consist of one member of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker; one member of the senate, appointed by the committee on committees; the secretary of natural resources or the secretary’s designee; the commissioner of fish and wildlife or the commissioner’s designee; and the following persons, as appointed by the governor: one representative of an industry that manufactures consumer products that contain mercury; one public health specialist; one representative of the Abenaki Self-Help Association, Inc.; one toxicologist; one representative of a municipal solid waste district; and one scientist who is knowledgeable on matters related to mercury contamination.  The advisory committee shall advise the general assembly, the executive branch, and the general public on matters relating to the prevention and cleanup of mercury pollution and the latest science on the remediation of mercury pollution.  By January 15 of each year, the advisory committee will report to the general assembly updated information on the following:

(1)  The extent of mercury contamination in the soil, waters, air, and biota of Vermont.

(2)  The extent of any health risk from mercury contamination in Vermont, especially to pregnant women, children of the Abenaki Self‑Help Association, Inc., and other communities that use fish as a major source of food.

(3)  Methods available for minimizing risk of further contamination or increased health risk to the Vermont public.

(4)  Potential costs of minimizing further risk and recommendations of how to raise funds necessary to reduce contamination and minimize risk of mercury-related problems in Vermont.

(5)  Coordination needed with other states to address effectively mercury contamination.

(b)  The advisory committee shall be terminated on January 1, 2010, unless extended by the general assembly.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 6621a is amended to read:


(a)  In accordance with the following schedule, no person shall knowingly dispose of the following solid waste in landfills:

* * *

(7)  Labeled mercury-added consumer products on or before July 1, 2007.  Mercury-added products, as defined in chapter 164 of this title after July 1, 2007.

* * *

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 8003(a) is amended to read:

(a)  The secretary may take action under this chapter to enforce the following statutes:

* * *

(16)  10 V.S.A. chapter 162, relating to the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact; and

(17)  10 V.S.A. § 2625, relating to heavy cutting of timber; and

(18)  10 V.S.A. chapter 164, relating to comprehensive mercury management.


(a)  The agency shall develop a plan and identify the necessary resources to accomplish the plan that would provide the necessary data to answer the following questions concerning mercury contamination of fish:

(1)  Are fish contaminant levels changing with time and in response to management actions?

(2)  Are there certain lake types where consumption advisories can be relaxed or where they need to be more restrictive?

(3)  Is there a baseline water-column concentration of mercury above which risks to humans and wildlife from mercury become unacceptable?

(b)  The plan shall be developed in collaboration among the departments of environmental conservation, fish and wildlife, and health and be submitted to the legislature not later than January 15, 2006.

Sec. 5.  REPEAL

(a)  10 V.S.A. § 6621d(a) (labeling of mercury‑added consumer products) is repealed on July 1, 2007.

(b)  10 V.S.A. § 6621d(b) (source separation), (c) (collection), (d) (collection program), (e) (support), (f) (rulemaking), and (g) (penalties) are repealed July 1, 2007.  Rules adopted under the authority of 10 V.S.A. § 6621d(f) shall stay in effect and govern the labeling of mercury‑added products that are manufactured before July 1, 2007.

(c)  10 V.S.A. § 6621e (advisory committee on mercury pollution) is repealed on July 1, 2007.


This act shall take effect July 1, 2005.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont