From the Fall 2012 Conservationist for Kids
Reducing Mercury in Your World
By Gina Jack
Most of the mercury in our air from human sources comes from power plants that burn coal to generate electricity. The easiest way to reduce the amount of mercury added to the environment is to reduce the amount of electricity you use each day. What can you turn off to reduce your power consumption?
A mercury spill in your home could be dangerous to your health and costly to clean up.
Learn how to safely dispose of mercury from your home.
- Mercury-containing thermometers, thermostats and light bulbs should be handled with care-by an adult-to avoid breakage. They should be recycled; in most cases it is illegal to put them in the trash. Some electronic equipment, such as LCD TVs and LCD monitors, contain small amounts of mercury and should be properly recycled at the end of their useful life.
- Many communities have one or more "household hazardous waste" days each year. You can drop off your hazardous items for proper disposal, including reuse or recycling. Check with your local government office to see when your community's household hazardous waste day is scheduled and what items are acceptable. Electronic waste may be recycled through various manufacturers' collection and recycling programs.
- Ask your teachers about mercury in your school. Schools sometimes have old equipment in science labs or health offices which may contain mercury and could be harmful. DEC's Mercury in School Clean Out Program and the New York State Department of Health's Mercury page have information about how to safely remove mercury from schools.