State seeks comments on mercury-containing lights

July 10, 2012

By Staff

The state Department of Ecology is establishing a program to collect, transport and recycle mercury-containing lights — such as fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent bulbs — and the public can comment.

State legislators passed the law during the 2010 legislative session. The bill established a producer-financed product stewardship program for mercury-containing bulbs. The program is meant to allow consumers to recycle the lights safely, conveniently and at no cost.

The energy-efficient lighting contains mercury, so disposal can cause environmental problems. Putting spent fluorescent lights into the trash becomes illegal starting Jan. 1, 2013.

Broken fluorescent lights expose workers, residents and children to toxic mercury vapors. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. Releasing the substance into the environment is a threat to public health.

Residents can submit comments at www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/mercurylights/rulemaking.html, email them to kara.steward@ecy.wa.gov or mail them to Department of Ecology, Kara J. Steward, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.

The public can comment on the stewardship program through Aug. 14.

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