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April 3, 2002

4-H mercury recycling activity under way

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A new community service effort, mercury recycling, is under way in several areas in Indiana. The project is coordinated by the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service 4-H Department, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Solid Waste Management districts throughout the state.

This effort involves 4-H clubs engaging in community education about mercury in the environment, in homes, on farms and how to properly recycle mercury to reduce the risk of human and environmental poisoning.

"There are several items that contain mercury that are especially of concern to farmers," says Brent Ladd, water quality specialist. Among those are:

• Mercury was traditionally used in agricultural chemicals such as fungicide, mildewcide and pesticide. Any unused containers of chemicals containing mercury should be taken to local solid waste management districts for recycling.

• Manometers containing mercury were, and still are, used in dairy operations. If worn out or no longer used, these manometers can be recycled at solid waste management districts.

• In the past, unused mercury may have been stored in glass jars in attics, basements, garages or barns, and it needs to be removed carefully and recycled.

• Switches on sump and bilge pumps, pilot light sensors, mercury vapor light bulbs and old thermostats also contain mercury. When these appliances wear out, the switch, bulb, sensor, etc. containing mercury should be removed and taken to a solid waste management district for recycling.

This mercury recycling effort comes shortly before the inception of a new Indiana law (effective July 1, 2003) restricting the use, transport and sale of mercury products, such as mercury thermometers.

In order to participate in the mercury recycling effort, contact your local solid waste management district for directions on transport and packaging procedures for mercury recycling. Or contact Brent Ladd, water quality specialist in agricultural and biological engineering, at (765) 496-6331, laddb@ecn.purdue.edu.

CONTACT: Brent Ladd, water quality specialist, (765) 496-6331, laddb@ecn.purdue.edu.

Writer: Andrea Gregory, (765) 494-8402, news_students@aes.purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes, bforbes@aes.purdue.edu; http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/AgComm/public/agnews/

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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