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Environment and Natural Resources - New Laws 2007

Mercury product restriction

A new law restricts the sale, use and disposal of certain products containing mercury.

Sponsored by Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville), the law, most of which takes effect Aug. 1, 2007, would place a number of restrictions on products containing mercury, including:

• requiring that fluorescent light bulbs be recycled;

• requiring motor vehicle electric switches, fluorescent or high-intensity discharge lamps, laboratory chemicals, reagents, fixatives and electrodes to be clearly labeled by retailers if they contain mercury;

• banning the sale of certain medical devices, mercury switches and miscellaneous products containing mercury; and

• banning the purchase, storage or use of elemental mercury and mercury-containing instruments in schools.

Effective July 1, 2008, retailers who sell fluorescent light bulbs will be required to display signs that read: “Fluorescent bulbs save energy and reduce environmental pollution. Note: Fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and must be recycled at the end of their use. Contact your county or utility for recycling options.”

During testimony heard in committee, Hortman said that fluorescent lamps and light bulbs alone are estimated to contribute as much as 173 pounds per year of mercury pollution in Minnesota’s environment.


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House Chief Author: Hortman
Senate Chief Author: Marty
Effective Date(s): various

* The legislative bill marked with an asterisk denotes the file submitted to the governor.

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