Division of Waste Management
Mercury collection in Richmond nets 150 pounds

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, November 01, 2006  
Contact Information:  Kerri Cope, (502) 564-6716  

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 1, 2006) – About 150 pounds of mercury and mercury-containing equipment were turned in during a Madison County mercury collection program sponsored by the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) in conjunction with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The total is significant, since even a tiny spill of liquid mercury – the amount from a thermometer or less – is a serious health risk unless properly cleaned up, said R. Bruce Scott, director of EPPC’s Division of Waste Management.

Participants were given mercury-free thermometers.

The collection in Richmond in October was in conjunction with the Madison County “Fall Haul” collection of household hazardous waste. Bob Rasmusson, county solid waste coordinator, said people brought in items from 200 households and businesses.

Exposure to liquid mercury, or “quicksilver,” can be harmful to your health. Exposure can occur through skin contact, breathing mercury vapors or ingesting mercury in food or drink. A fact sheet on handling household mercury spills is online at http://www.waste.ky.gov/factsheets/ .

Since 2000, there have been 98 mercury incidents in Kentucky requiring state or federal response. Thirty-six incidents occurred in schools, 22 involved residences, 30 involved businesses, seven were miscellaneous sites and three involved a government agency.