From the Fall 2012 Conservationist for Kids
The Outside Page
By Gina Jack
There are plenty of ways you can help reduce mercury pollution, starting with cutting back how much electricity you use and encouraging adults to remove items that contain mercury from your home and school. In many cases, there are mercury-free substitutes that can do the job just as well. Write a list of changes you can make, and then put it into action!
Here are some suggestions:
- Use digital thermometers.
- Replace older mercury thermostats (round) with digital thermostats.
- Replace mercury light switches (sliders) with non-mercury switches (click style).
- Avoid batteries that contain mercury. If you don't have a choice, make sure to dispose of them properly at a battery recycling center or at a household hazardous waste collection.
- Dispose of computers, cell phones and other electronics containing mercury and other toxic metals safely when you're done with them.
You are what you eat
Many anglers enjoy catch-and-release fishing, but for those who like to eat their catch, it's important to know whether fish are safe to eat. Go to New York State Department of Health's Fish Health Advice page to learn which kinds of fish are safe to eat in different areas of the state.
Resources For More Information
The Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up (EPA/Scholastic publication for children)
Elements (Vol. 6): Zinc, Cadmium and Mercury by Brian Knapp (Grolier Educational, Danbury, CT, 1997)
DEC's "What Do You Know About Mercury?" page
DEC's gateway page with links about mercury
DEC's Household Hazardous Waste page
DEC's CFL page
DEC's Recycling Electronic Waste page
EPA's "About Air Toxics"
EPA's Basic Information about Mercury
Wisconsin DNR kids' page on mercury