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Managing Mercury-Added Consumer Products in New York State

Mercury-added consumer product legislation was first adopted in New York State (NYS) in 2004. Based on emerging issues and concerns regarding mercury-added consumer products, several amendments have been made since then. The Mercury-Added Consumer Products Law, (link leaves DEC's website) Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) Article 27, Title 21, sets forth labeling standards, disposal prohibitions, and restrictions on the sale and distribution of many mercury-added consumer products. The law authorizes the department to participate in the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC), (link leaves DEC's website) a multistate clearinghouse which supports state mercury reduction initiatives. Manufacturers of mercury-added consumer products are required to submit notifications (link leaves DEC's website) on mercury-added consumer products they intend to sell into any of the participating IMERC states.

Labeling Standards

A mercury-added consumer product, and its package, sold or offered for sale in NYS by a distributor or retailer must be labeled by the manufacturer. The label of a mercury-added consumer product, and its package, must:

  1. clearly and conspicuously inform the consumer that mercury is present in the product and that the product cannot be disposed of or placed with waste destined for disposal;
  2. be conspicuous to the consumer prior to purchase, and during the installation and removal of such product; and
  3. be affixed to the product and be composed of a material sufficiently durable to remain legible and so affixed for the useful life of the product.

Automobile manufacturers can meet the labeling requirements, with respect to either original equipment or service parts, if new automobiles bear a label on the doorpost that lists the mercury-added components contained in the vehicle.

If a manufacturer cannot meet the labeling standards outlined above, it can submit an alternative labeling request (link leaves DEC's website) to IMERC. Such request should contain:

  1. documentation demonstrating that the proposed alternative label is approved for use in another state, if applicable;
  2. documentation that a product or class of products cannot reasonably be labeled to comply with the requirements of 6 NYCRR Subpart 368-2; and
  3. an alternative labeling plan that describes how the proposed alternative label will address, at a minimum, the intent of each of the provisions identified in 6 NYCRR Subpart 368-2.

Approvals for alternative labeling are valid for four years and may be renewed by the department upon a written request from the manufacturer. A renewal request must be submitted at least 90-days prior to the date of expiration.

Disposal Prohibitions

Waste products containing mercury must be managed separately from other solid waste. The law prohibits any person from knowingly or intentionally disposing of a mercury-added consumer product in solid waste or otherwise dispose of such product except by separated delivery to a solid waste management facility or hazardous waste management facility permitted or authorized by the department. No person shall knowingly or intentionally dispose of a mercury-added consumer product by delivery to a resource recovery facility where solid or hazardous waste is burned as fuel for the purpose of recovering usable energy.

Fluorescent lamps from households and small businesses (100 or less employees and discarding 15 or less non-hazardous waste lamps per month) are exempt from these disposal restrictions. However, New York State's existing hazardous waste regulations still apply.

Product Sales Prohibitions

The following mercury-added consumer products are prohibited from being sold, offered for sale, or distributed in NYS:

  • Mercury-added novelty products
  • Mercury fever thermometers or mercury body thermometers (except by prescription written by a physician).
  • Elemental mercury, other than within a mercury-added consumer product, unless the final purchaser or recipient signs a statement that the elemental mercury will be used only for medical, research, or manufacturing purposes. The purchase and/or use of elemental mercury by primary or secondary schools in NYS is prohibited.
  • Mercury barometers, mercury esophageal dilators, mercury bougie tubes or mercury gastrointestinal tubes, mercury flow meters, mercury hygrometers or mercury psychrometers, mercury pyrometers. Exceptions: See ECL Sections 27-2107(5) and 27-2107(9).
  • Mercury hydrometers or mercury manometers. Exceptions: See ECL Sections 27-2107(6) and 27-2107(9).
  • Mercury switches or mercury relays, individually or as a product component. Exception: See ECL Section 27-2107(7) and 27-2107(9).
  • Mercury sphygmomanometers, mercury wetted reed relays, mercury flame sensors, mercury thermometers, or mercury thermostats, except for mercury thermostats for the blind or visually impaired. Exceptions: See ECL Sections 27-2107(8), 27-2107(9) and 27-2107(10). These mercury-added consumer products are eligible for an exemption. Exemption applications (link leaves DEC's website) can be found on the IMERC website. Be certain to indicate that the exemption information is for New York State.
  • Mercury-added lamps that exceed mercury content restrictions. For the following general-purpose lights, mercury content shall be no higher than:
    • 2.5 milligrams for screw-based compact fluorescent lamps less than thirty watts;
    • 3.5 milligrams for straight fluorescent T8 lamps with a normal lifetime (excluding 8-foot models) and 3.0 milligrams for straight fluorescent T5 lamps with a normal lifetime;
    • 5.0 milligrams for straight fluorescent T8 and T5 lamps with a long lifetime;
    • 15.0 milligrams for non-linear fluorescent T8, T5, and T12 lamps and 8-foot linear fluorescent lamps (excluding very high output models).

Phase-out of mercury-added consumer products in motor vehicles

No manufacturer shall equip any motor vehicle sold in the state with any mercury-added component, including, but not limited to, switches, sensors, lights and displays containing greater than 15 mg of mercury, unless it is necessary to comply with federal or state safety or health requirements, or for the purposes of national security, provided that the manufacturer applies for and receives an exemption. If an exemption is granted, every motor vehicle equipped with a mercury-added component shall meet the required labeling standards outlined above.

Phase-out of mercury-containing flooring

The law prohibits mercury-containing flooring from being installed in public and non-public elementary and secondary schools and requires the removal of an existing mercury-containing floor prior to installation of a new floor. Please see the Mercury-containing Flooring Guidance for NYS Schools (PDF) for additional details regarding flooring type identification, mercury vapor monitoring, and potential removal, if needed.


Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Bureau of Waste Reduction and Recycling at (518) 402-8706. Additional information about household waste disposal may be obtained by contacting the Bureau of Permitting and Planning at (518) 402-8678. For questions regarding the disposal of mercury-containing products by businesses, please contact the Training & Technical Support Section at (518) 402-9543.