Mercury thermostats can be a major source of mercury contamination in the environment. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin. It does not break down in the environment and it bioaccumulates in the tissues of fish, which are then consumed by people. One gram of mercury can contaminate a 20-acre lake. Mercury thermostats, each containing about 3 grams of mercury, have been phased out in California but are still found in many homes and businesses.
Supporting Thermostat Stewardship
In 2008, CPSC and the California Sierra Club co-sponsored AB 2347, the Mercury Thermostat Collection Act. This was the first extended producer responsibility bill to become law in California. The nonprofit Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) was formed serve as the stewardship organization and develop a convenient take-back program. Under this law, heating and air conditioning (HVAC) wholesalers must accept mercury thermostats from the public free-of-charge, and contractors who remove mercury thermostats must recycle them.
In February 2013, CPSC and our partner organizations submitted comments on the proposed regulations to implement the new law, which were adopted in May 2013. CPSC and our allies issued this press release on the final rulemaking.
Articles & Press
- Tempers Are Rising About Mercury - Crosslands Bulletin, 4/14/13
- CA Mercury Thermostat Law Now in Effect - Thermostat Recycling Corporation Press Release 7/8/09
- Manufacturers Implement Mercury Thermostat Recycling Program in CA - Thermostat Recycling Corp. 6/18/09
- Assemblyman Ruskin held a press conference, signing the historic producer responsibility law:
AB 2347 press conference at the Palo Alto Water Treatment Facility, October 20, 2008
Left to right: Barbara Spector, Mayor of Los Gatos; Rick Brauch, Dept. of Toxic Substances Control;
Heidi Sanborn, CPSC; Ira Ruskin, Assemblymember and Author of AB 2347; Bill Magavern,
Sierra Club California; Pat Foster, Mayor of East Palo Alto; Larry Klein, Mayor of Palo Alto;
Samantha Omey, Honeywell
- CalRecycle Mercury Webpage
- DTSC Mercury Thermostat Webpage
- Product Stewardship Institute: Thermostats
- Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC)