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Tag Archives: CFLs

It’s Mercury Roundup Time!

The department is launching a month-long effort to rid homes of mercury, with nearly 50 mercury drop-off locations throughout the state.

Working with fire departments and county health offices throughout the state, the department is providing mercury drop-off locations in communities statewide. Any private citizen or nonprofit agency can leave mercury-containing instruments, such as thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, thermostats or switches, at any of these sites.

This program does not include compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, see the Household Compact Fluorescent Lamp Use and Disposal fact sheet detailing the proper disposal of CFLs.

Citizens seeking to dispose of items at these sites should first secure the item in two zip top plastic bags and then place it in a crush-proof sealed container, such as a coffee can,  plastic margarine tub, or plastic beverage bottle.

Department staff will collect the dropped off items at the end of May for consolidation. Staff will then transport the mercury items to Jefferson City to recycle what can be recycled and properly dispose of the rest.

A person who is uncomfortable with transporting mercury instruments, or who has large quantities of mercury, can contact the department’s spill line at 573-634-2436 to arrange to have items picked up.

For location information, visit the list of mercury drop-off sites.

For more information on the mercury roundup, contact the nearest participating agency or the department’s Environmental Services Program at 573-634-2436.

Visit mercury for more information on mercury, including health effects and how to clean up a small mercury spill.  

 

Cleaning up a mercury spill

At one time mercury was common in nearly every American household as a key component in such common household items as thermometers, thermostats and blood-pressure cuffs. As we have become more aware of the health effects of mercury, it has become less prevalent, but incidents of mercury spills still occur regularly. Cleaning up mercury spills correctly is very important for the health and safety of children and adults.

A small amount of mercury spilled on porous materials like cloth, carpet or wood, or trapped in a floor’s cracks and drains can expose everyone in the area for months or even years.

Mercury spills of any quantity can produce harmful vapors.

While the reportable quantity for mercury is 1 pound (approx. 2 tablespoons of liquid), a spill of any amount should be reported so that a technical individual can evaluate the spill and provide advice.

  • Never use a household vacuum cleaner to clean up mercury. This will create more mercury vapors and contaminate your vacuum cleaner.
  • Never use a broom on a mercury spill. Brooms scatter mercury droplets.
  • Never pour liquid mercury or mercury compounds down the drain. Mercury will accumulate in the S-trap of the drain and may continue to emit harmful vapors.
  • Never place mercury-laden fabrics in a washing machine. The washing machine may become contaminated. Dispose of clothing properly. For a household, this means double-bagging and placing in the garbage. For a business, this means disposal in accordance with state hazardous waste laws and regulations.

Cleaning Up Small Mercury Spills Fact Sheet

Household Compact Fluorescent Lamp Use and Disposal Fact Sheet – Information about cleaning up CFLs.

For technical advice and assistance, please contact the department’s 24-hour Environmental Emergency Response hotline at 573-634-2436 regarding any mercury spill.