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Government Affairs Albany Update

April 12, 2001

Mercury Legislation

Legislation has been introduced in both houses that would impact a wide range of products containing mercury, including but not limited to electrical equipment, lighting, medical equipment, thermostats, gas regulators, and apparel. The key bills – S.3084 (Balboni) A.4209 (Brodsky) – differ in structure, but are similar in content. Both would require the labeling of products containing mercury; impose a ban on the manufacture and sale of most "mercury-added products" by 2004; prohibit the disposal of most mercury-containing products; and require manufacturers to set up collection and "take-back" programs for the mercury-added products they produce. It would also ban the sale of "mercury added" toys, games, cosmetics and apparel; ban the sale and distribution of mercury-containing thermometers; and ban the use of mercury-containing testing equipment. It would also require that mercury-containing gas pressure gauges and regulators be removed from service (commonly used in natural gas service.) The bills would also impose new limits on mercury discharges from municipal sewage treatment plants.

The Senate bill is in the Water Resources Committee; the Assembly bill has advanced to Codes.

Since the state has not focused on mercury legislation over the past several sessions, we urge you to look at these proposals, and assess their impact on your manufacturing or service activities.

Staff Contact: Ken Pokalsky