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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.121

Introduced by Representatives Hosford of Waitsfield, Deen of Westminster, Fisher of Lincoln, French of Randolph, Johnson of South Hero, Klein of East Montpelier and Randall of Troy

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Conservation; air pollution; wastewater management; dental amalgam

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to limit the presence of mercury in the air and waters of the state by prohibiting the installation of

mercury-containing dental amalgam, except in back molars, effective

January 1, 2011.  It establishes reporting requirements regarding amounts of mercury supplied to the dentists of the state.  It also proposes to establish a comprehensive program by which manufacturers of mercury-added thermostats will collect mercury-added thermostats facing disposal. 

AN ACT RELATING TO PROTECTING THE AIR AND WATERS OF THE STATE BY BANNING CERTAIN USES OF MERCURY AMALGAM, AND BY REQUIRING MANUFACTURERS OF MERCURY-ADDED THERMOSTATS TO COLLECT THOSE THERMOSTATS FACING DISPOSAL

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


Sec. 1.  ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF DENTAL AMALGAM

The general assembly finds:

(1)  According to a 2004 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, titled “International Mercury Market Study and the Role and Impact of U.S. Environmental Policy,” mercury from dental amalgam is the source of the greatest reservoir of consumer-derived mercury, over 50 percent, when compared with the mercury contained in all other consumer products.  

(2)  As the rate of cremation increases, in the absence of state requirements that crematoria install expensive emission control equipment,  much of this reservoir of mercury derived from dental amalgam will be emitted to the atmosphere and eventually will be deposited into the waters of the state.

(3)  Due to concerns about mercury emissions from crematoria, the Vermont air pollution control division in December 2006 recommended that the use of dental amalgam be banned or rapidly phased out.

(4)  While dental practices in Vermont are required to self-certify compliance with best management practices, including the installation of amalgam separators on wastewater discharge systems, recent studies indicate that without proper installation and rigorous attention to ongoing and proper maintenance, the efficiency of mercury removal from pollution control devices may not be as high as removal rates in laboratory testing.

(5)  After releases of mercury from dental offices, mercury from human wastes traced to the urine and feces of people with amalgam fillings is the second largest contributor of dental mercury to wastewater treatment plants, according to a 2002 study conducted by the Association of Metropolitan Sewage Agencies.

(6)  Mercury in household wastewater can lead to mercury in sludge, the management of which in turn can lead to other routes by which mercury can enter the waters of the state and the food chain.

(7)  Reducing the use of mercury amalgam is an important step in reducing the extent to which the general populace is exposed to mercury from  environmental sources.

(8)  According to a 2004 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, titled “International Mercury Market Study and the Role and Impact of U.S. Environmental Policy,” more than 10 percent of the estimated mercury reservoir in the United States is in thermostats.

(9)  In 2000, thermostat manufacturers General Electric, Honeywell, and White Rodgers established the Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) that runs the program for collecting mercury-containing thermostat discards in Vermont.  Under the TRC program, thermostat wholesalers volunteer to place bins where heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) contractors can discard thermostats.

(10)  Currently, less than five percent of the mercury contained in thermostats removed from buildings in Vermont is turned in to the TRC collection program.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 7110(g) is added to read:

(g)  Effective January 1, 2011, no person may place dental amalgam in the mouth of a person, except in back molars, as part of a dental procedure or otherwise.

Sec. 3.  REPORT CONCERNING MERCURY USED IN AMALGAM

             FILLINGS 

Annually, by December 1 of 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, any person that supplies mercury-containing amalgam to dentists or dental offices in this state shall report to the department of environmental conservation the volume of mercury the person supplied to dentists and dental offices in this state during the prior year.  Annually, by January 15 of 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, the department of environmental conservation, in consultation with the advisory committee on mercury pollution, shall report the quantity of mercury supplied to dentists and dental offices in this state to the committees on natural resources and energy and to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources.  For the purposes of this section, "person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, or other legal entity.


Sec. 4. 10 V.S.A. § 7107(a)(2) is amended to read:

(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.  Any contractor who replaces a mercury-added thermostat in a residence shall deliver the thermostat to an appropriate collection location for recycling.

Sec. 5.  10 V.S.A. § 7116 is added to read:

§ 7116.  MERCURY-ADDED THERMOSTATS

(a)  Definitions.  As used in this section, the following words have the following meanings:

(1)  “Manufacturer” means the brand-name owner on the thermostat.

(2)  “Mercury-added thermostat” means a product or device that uses a  mercury switch to sense and control room temperature through communication with heating, ventilating, or air-conditioning equipment.  “Mercury-added thermostat” includes thermostats used to sense and control room temperature in residential, commercial, industrial, and other buildings but does not include a thermostat used to sense and control temperature as part of a manufacturing  process.

(3)  “Person” means any individual, corporation, partnership, cooperative, association, firm, sole proprietorship, governmental agency, or other entity.

(4)  “Retailer” means a person who sells thermostats of any kind directly to homeowners or other nonprofessionals through any selling or distribution mechanism, including but not limited to sales using the internet or catalogues.  A retailer may also be a wholesaler if it meets the definition of wholesaler.

(5)  “Wholesaler” means a person that the secretary determines is engaged in the distribution and wholesale selling of large quantities of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning components to contractors who install heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning components.

(b)  Manufacturer responsibility.  Each manufacturer of mercury‑added thermostats that have been sold at final sale in this state shall, individually or collectively:

(1)  Establish and maintain a collection and recycling program for out‑of‑service mercury‑added thermostats.  The collection and recycling program must be designed and implemented to ensure that all of the following take place:

(A)  A maximum rate of collection of mercury‑added thermostats is achieved.

(B)  Handling and recycling of mercury-added thermostats are accomplished in a manner that is consistent with the provisions of this chapter and with the rules adopted under this chapter.

(C)  Authorized bins for mercury-added thermostat collection are made available at all heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning supply, electrical supply, and plumbing supply distributor locations that sell thermostats.

(D)  By January 1, 2008, authorized bins for mercury-added thermostat collection are made available to municipalities, solid waste management districts, and regions requesting bins for mercury-added thermostat collection at authorized waste collection sites or at periodic household hazardous waste collection events, provided that the collection sites or events are approved by the secretary for mercury-added thermostat collections.

(2)  Work cooperatively with the secretary and others to establish appropriate systems in order to implement the plan developed pursuant to subsection (e) of this section.

(3)  Within three months after the secretary develops phase one of the plan required by subsection (e) of this section, implement phase one of the plan.

(4)  Within three months after the secretary develops phase two of the plan required by subsection (e) of this section, implement phase two of the plan.

(5)  Within three months after the secretary develops phase one of the plan required by subsection (e) of this section, provide a financial incentive with a minimum value of $5.00 for the return of each mercury-added thermostat by a contractor or service technician to an authorized and established recycling collection point.

(6)  Within three months after the secretary develops phase two of the plan required by subsection (e) of this section, provide a financial incentive with a minimum value of $5.00 for the return of each mercury-added thermostat by a homeowner to an authorized and established recycling collection point.

(7)  Beginning in 2009, submit an annual report to the secretary by January 30 of each year that includes, at a minimum, all of the following:

(A)  The number of mercury-added thermostats collected and recycled by that manufacturer pursuant to this section during the previous calendar year.

(B)  The estimated total amount of mercury contained in the thermostat components collected by that manufacturer pursuant to this section.

(C)  An evaluation of the effectiveness of the manufacturer’s collection and recycling program and the financial incentive provided pursuant to subdivisions (5) and (6) of this subsection.

(D)  An accounting of the administrative costs incurred in the course of administering the collection and recycling program and the financial incentive plan developed pursuant to subsection (e) of this section.

(8)  Participate in the development and implementation of an education and outreach program directed toward wholesalers, contractors, and homeowners, as required under this section.

(c)  Wholesaler and retailer responsibilities. 
(1)  Effective one year after the effective date of this section, a wholesaler may not sell a thermostat in the state unless the wholesaler acts as a collection site for thermostats that contain mercury.  A wholesaler may meet the requirements of this subdivision by participating as a collection site in a manufacturer collection program as described under this section or by collecting thermostats that contain mercury and ensuring the recycling of the collected thermostats in accordance with universal waste rules adopted by the secretary.   A wholesaler shall also perform its educational responsibilities identified under this section.
(2)  As determined by the process to develop the homeowner collection program phase under this section, a retailer may be required to undertake one or more of the following activities under the collection program for homeowners established under this section:
(A)  Facilitate a homeowner mail-back program by providing appropriate packaging upon request, point-of-sale instructions, and other tasks as needed to establish a cost-effective manufacturer mail-back program.
(B)  Provide a location for collection either on-site or otherwise convenient for homeowners.
(C)  Provide point-of-sale educational materials and signage regarding the importance of recycling mercury-added thermostats and the location of available collection locations for homeowners; and
(D)  Other activities identified through the stakeholder process contemplated under this section.

(d)  Sales prohibition.  Within three months after phase two of the plan required by subsection (e) of this section has been developed, the following sales prohibitions shall apply to manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of thermostats:

(1)  A manufacturer not in compliance with this section is prohibited from offering any thermostat for final sale in the state, selling any thermostat at final sale in the state, or distributing any thermostat in the state.  A manufacturer not in compliance with this section shall provide the necessary support to retailers to ensure the manufacturer’s thermostats are not offered for final sale, sold at final sale, or distributed in this state.

(2)  A wholesaler or retailer may not offer for final sale, sell at final sale, or distribute in this state any thermostat of a manufacturer that is not in compliance with this section.

(e)  Financial incentive plan.

(1)  The secretary shall develop a manufacturer financial incentive plan in two phases.  By January 1, 2008, the secretary shall develop phase one of the plan, which must address collection of mercury-added thermostats from contractors and service technicians.  By August 1, 2008, the secretary shall develop phase two of the plan, which must address collection of mercury‑added thermostats from homeowners.  The plan must be developed in consultation with a stakeholder group that includes representatives from the thermostat industry, environmental groups, thermostat wholesalers, and service contractors.  The plan must be developed in a manner that ensures to the maximum extent practical that all of the following apply:

(A)  The capture rate of out-of-service mercury-added thermostats is maximized.

(B)  Adequate incentives and education are provided to contractors, service technicians, and homeowners to encourage return of thermostats to established recycling collection points.

(C)  Administrative costs of the plan are minimized.

(D)  The plan encourages the purchase of nonmercury thermostats qualified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program as replacements for mercury-added thermostats.

(E)  Mechanisms are in place to protect against the fraudulent return of thermostats.

(2)  The plan must include a requirement that manufacturers provide a financial incentive with a minimum value of $5.00 for the return of each mercury-added thermostat to an authorized and established recycling collection point in accordance with subdivisions (b)(5) and (6) of this section.  The financial incentive may include, without limitation, cash, rebates, discounts, coupons, or other incentives.

(f)  Goal.  The goal of the collection and recycling efforts under this section is to collect and recycle at least 70 percent of the mercury from mercury‑added thermostats within two years after the development of phase one of the plan required by subsection (e) of this section and at least 80 percent of the mercury from mercury‑added thermostats within three years after the development of phase two of the plan required by subsection (e) of this section.

(g)  Report.  By March 15, 2008, and annually thereafter, the secretary shall submit a report on the collection and recycling of mercury‑added thermostats in the state to the legislative committees on natural resources and energy.  The report due in 2008 must include a description and discussion of the financial incentive plan established under this section and recommendations for any statutory changes concerning the collection and recycling of mercury-added thermostats.  Subsequent reports must include an evaluation of the effectiveness of the thermostat collection and recycling programs established under this section, information on actual collection rates, and recommendations for any statutory changes concerning the collection and recycling of

mercury-added thermostats.

(h)  Education and outreach.  The secretary shall convene a stakeholder group to develop an education and outreach program that will inform consumers, contractors, wholesalers, and retailers about mercury in general and about the collection system established under this section and elsewhere under this chapter.

(i)  Program revision by rule.  The secretary, by rule, may modify all aspects of the program established under this section if the goals are not met substantially, including increasing the amount of the incentive.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us