ALBANY — A coalition of health and environmental groups and municipal recyclers is calling on the state Legislature to pass a bill establishing a recycling program for mercury thermostats.
Mercury is a highly potent neurotoxin that is extremely harmful to pregnant women and children. A state law in 2005 phased out the sale of many mercury-containing consumer products and banned their disposal in solid waste facilities. But discarded mercury products still end up in the waste stream.
According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, municipal waste incinerators in New York released more mercury into the air than coal-fired power plants in 2009.
The New York Public Interest Research Group and others in the coalition are urging passage of legislation requiring thermostat manufacturers to establish a collection program for discarded mercury thermostats.