Free mercury recycling events scheduled for rural communities

Free mercury recycling events scheduled for rural communities
A mercury switch. Image: Medvedev / Wikimedia Commons

CARSON CITY–The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) will host four events in rural Nevada communities for residents to recycle household items containing mercury. The free events are scheduled for April 24 in Hawthorne and May 15 in Tonopah, Goldfield and Eureka.

“Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin and proper disposal is important to reduce both potential human and environmental exposures,” said Jeff Scott Director of the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Land Office. NDEP notes that Mercury, which is a metallic element sometimes known as quicksilver, poses health risks if ingested, inhaled, or even comes into contact with the skin.

A number of household items contain Mercury including older thermometers, electronics with LCD screens and various antiques. If not disposed of properly, the mercury can leak from such items through cracks and breaks and pose a health risk to individuals in addition to environmental contamination.

Free mercury recycling events are:

  • Saturday, April 24 from 10am to 2 pm – Hawthorne – North end of D. St. next to Veteran’s Memorial Park 
  • Saturday, May 15 from 10am to 2pm – Tonopah – Nye County Roads Department Yard 
  • Saturday, May 15 from 10am to 2pm – Goldfield – Goldfield Community Center 
  • Saturday, May 15 from 10am to 2pm – Eureka – Eureka County Landfill 

NDEP provided the following list of household items that may contain mercury: 

  • Older thermometers often contain mercury. If the liquid in the thermometer is silver, it is most likely a mercury thermometer.   
  • Some antiques such as barometers, clock pendulums, mirrors, vases and organs contain mercury.  
  • Electric appliances including some chest freezers, space heaters, clothes dryers, clothes irons and washing machines may contain mercury switches that turn the device on or off, or turn a light on or off.  
  • Cars manufactured before 2003 may contain mercury switches or relays.  
  • Mercury is used in LCD screens and monitors. It is also used in laptop screen shutoffs. Televisions manufactured before 1991 may also contain mercury switches. These products need to be properly disposed at household hazardous waste collection centers.  
  • Some jewelry, mostly imported from Mexico, contains liquid elemental (metallic) mercury encased in glass. If the glass breaks, the mercury can spill.  
  • Fluorescent bulbs, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), high intensity discharge (HID) lamps, ultraviolet lamps, neon lights. 
  • Certain skin creams that are generally imported from outside the U.S. and sold as skin lightening or freckle creams. 
  • Thermostats may contain mercury. 

Learn more at ndep.nv.gov/land/mercury.

Source: NDEP