Mercury is a heavy metal that can accumulate in living tissue. Exposure to mercury, when released into the environment through spills or incineration, can be toxic to humans and wildlife, or cause other health effects such as neurological and reproductive disorders. Therefore, proper management of used mercury-containing items and elemental mercury is important to protect human health and the environment. By keeping mercury-containing items and elemental mercury out of the trash, or preventing them from going down the drain, we reduce the potential for exposure to mercury. When products containing mercury are discarded in the trash, they simply do not disappear. Most of our trash is incinerated at a resources recovery facility. If a mercury-containing device is incinerated at such a facility, the mercury may enter the environment through the smoke stacks or through the resulting ash. If a mercury-containing device should break while in the waste stream, the mercury may be released into the environment.
By reducing the amount of mercury we use, we can then recycle only what is necessary for useful products for which there is no effective alternative, such as fluorescent lamps. Bringing elemental mercury and mercury-containing items such as thermometers, thermostats, fluorescent lights and button cell batteries to a household hazardous waste collection is one way to properly dispose of mercury-containing items. Another way to reduce the amount of mercury in the environment is to bring the used mercury-containing item, such as fluorescent lamps, to a licensed recycling facility. Check the household hazardous waste and recycling information pages of the Connecticut DEEP website for information on household hazardous waste collection programs and recycling opportunities.
If you have a mercury spill, please report it to the CT DEEP 24-hour Emergency Response and Spill Prevention Hotline at: 860-424- 3338; or Toll Free at 1-866-DEP-SPIL (1-866-337-7745). If these numbers are unavailable for any reason, call (860) 424-3333.
For questions regarding potential mercury poisoning, contact the Poison Control Center at the UCONN Health Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Information for Schools/Colleges/Universities
Information for Manufacturers, Retailers and Wholesalers for Compliance with the Mercury Education and Reduction Act
Information for Dental Offices and Dental Training Schools
Information for Hospitals, Healthcare Facilities and Healthcare Providers
Information for the Auto Industry
Mercury Thermostat Management
Environmental Compliance Annual Report 2001 - Special Feature: Focus on Mercury
"Toward the Virtual Elimination of Mercury from the Solid Waste Stream" - March 2000 Report to the Connecticut Legislature
CT Department of Public Health:
Connecticut's Fish Consumption Advisory
Metallic Mercury: Health Effects Fact Sheet
Guidelines For Residential Clean-Up of Broken Thermometers
EPA Mercury Homepage
Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA)
Mercury Pollution in the Northeast - A Guide for Policy Makers (NEWMOA)
For additional information, call or write:
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Bureau of Materials Management and Compliance Assurance
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106-5127
Phone: Mercury Information Line at 1-877-537-2488 (This toll-free information line is available during business hours 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
You may also visit our office Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Content Last Updated on May 8, 2013