Monday, July 14

Mercury fever thermometers
banned in Illinois    
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[JULY 14, 2003]  SPRINGFIELD Gov. Rod Blagojevich's approval of legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and distribution of mercury fever thermometers and mercury-added novelty items after July 1, 2004, was hailed Friday by Illinois EPA Director Renee Cipriano.

"This legislation continues the commitment of the governor and Illinois EPA to reducing potential mercury releases to the environment," said Cipriano.

Mercury-containing thermometers can pose an immediate health threat if they break, and they can also pollute waterways and harm fish if thrown away.

With Gov. Blagojevich's approval on Thursday of the Mercury Fever Thermometer Prohibition Act (HB 1530), Illinois joins 10 other states that have enacted similar bans.

Illinois EPA currently has a mercury initiative under way that particularly targets removal of mercury-containing materials and dangerous chemicals from schools.

The agency has so far assisted more than 50 schools in cleaning out their laboratories, workshops and classrooms of mercury-containing items and other hazardous educational waste. So far 29 drums of exclusively mercury materials have been collected for proper disposal.

 

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Mercury items are also accepted at the household hazardous waste collections conducted around the state in the spring and fall by Illinois EPA with local governments and organizations. The agency has also conducted mercury thermometer exchanges at nine state facilities and has partnered with hospitals.

In addition, public education and outreach on the hazards of mercury are being conducted by Illinois EPA through distribution of informational brochures, radio public service announcements and workshops.

Illinois EPA also participates in the National Quicksilver Caucus, a coalition of state associations that have come together to address issues of mercury and the environment. The agency is also working on more detailed assessments and improved techniques to determine the amounts and sources of mercury in our air and water.

[Illinois Environmental Protection Agency news release] 

 

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