WASHINGTON (June 25, 2015) – The Natural Resources Defense Council has filed a petition calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to ascertain the amount and the uses of mercury produced, imported, or used in the United States, so the agency can then reduce or eliminate the potent neurotoxin from industrial processes and consumer products.
NRDC was joined in the petition calling for a national mercury inventory by the lead state organization that tracks mercury use, the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association, and supported by the states of Minnesota and Washington.
Mercury use has been reported to the states in the manufacture of children’s products such as toys and clothing, and in the manufacture of switches and relays found in an assortment of products which operate electrical circuits, or liquid or gas valves.
“The creation of this national inventory is overdue and would greatly facilitate compliance with the international Minamata Convention on Mercury the U.S. joined 19 months ago. Such information is also critical to achieving further mercury reductions and protecting the health of the American people,” said David Lennett, senior attorney in NRDC’s health program.
Federal and state agencies attempting to track mercury production and use in the U.S. have long decried the lack of a national mechanism to collect information about mercury. Last September, EPA announced a voluntary effort to obtain these data, but those voluntary efforts were both too limited in scope and unsuccessful.
The petition calls for EPA to issue a federal rule requiring companies to provide the data every three years, to coincide with NEWMOA’s reporting program on mercury use in products managed through its Interstate Mercury Education and Reporting Clearinghouse.
The following fact sheet by the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse shows switches and relays containing mercury, the largest use of mercury in products, and non-mercury alternatives: http://www.newmoa.org/prevention/mercury/imerc/factsheets/switches_relays_2014.pdf
A blog by David Lennett on the EPA mercury inventory petition is here: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dlennett/developing_a_national_inventor.html
The full EPA mercury inventory petition is here: http://docs.nrdc.org/health/files/hea_15062401a.pdf