Mercury occurs naturally in air, water and soil, and is present in diverse consumer products, such as thermometers, thermostats, and vehicle switches. It is important to carefully manage these products at end-of-life to prevent release of mercury into the environment, and to protect human health. In addition, other human activities contribute to elevated levels of some mercury compounds, such as methylmercury. Methylmercury accumulates up the food chain, and in some cases, fish consumption advisories are issued to protect human health.
The EPA has created a fact sheet called Before You Tear it Down, Get the Mercury Out. This collection of information concerns demolition processes and Mercury. It can be very useful when renovating or demolition plans are ahead of you to ensure that you will be safe and free of potential Mercury exposure.
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
Mercury Information Hub -Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Information Center
Unless newer models have been installed, many homes have older thermostats which contain mercury. If remodeling or replacing thermostats, do not throw them in the garbage. Recycle them instead. DEQ has partnered with County Sanitarians to off free recycling for citizens. Just contact your County or Tribal Health Department to speak with your Sanitarian and arrange a time to drop off your old thermostat for safe recycling.
Low-Income Weatherization Contractors
The Montana State University Extension Service provides weatherization training for contractors working with the Montana Low-Income Weatherization program. The Extension Service also trains weatherization experts on safe management of mercury-containing thermostats, and provides mercury collection buckets and spill kits. When weatherization crews remove a mercury-bulb thermostat, the thermostat is replaced with a non-mercury type and the collected thermostats are returned to the Extension Service for recycling.