2005 Regular Session
To: Environment Prot, Cons and Water Res
By: Senator(s) Dawkins
AN ACT TO PROHIBIT USE OF CERTAIN PRODUCTS CONTAINING MERCURY; TO PROVIDE FOR EXEMPTIONS; TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY TO EVALUATE AND REPORT ON PROGRAMS TO REDUCE OR RECYCLE MERCURY; TO PROVIDE THAT STATE REGULATIONS FOR EXEMPTIONS SHALL BE EQUIVALENT TO FEDERAL REGULATIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following terms are defined as follows:
(a) "Mercury relay" means a product or device, containing mercury added during its manufacture, that opens or closes electrical contacts to effect the operation of other devices in the same or another electrical circuit. Mercury relay includes, but is not limited to, mercury displacement relays, mercury wetted reed relays and mercury contact relays.
(b) "Mercury switch" means a product or device, containing mercury added during its manufacture, that opens or closes an electrical circuit or gas valve, including, but not limited to, mercury float switches actuated by rising or falling liquid levels, mercury tilt switches actuated by a change in the switch position, mercury pressure switches actuated by a change in pressure, mercury temperature switches actuated by a change in temperature and mercury flame sensors.
SECTION 2. Beginning July 1, 2005, no person shall purchase or accept, for use in a primary or secondary school classroom, bulk elemental mercury, chemicals containing mercury or instructional equipment or materials containing mercury added during their manufacturer. This subsection does not apply to: (a) other products containing mercury added during their manufacture that are used in schools; and (b) measuring devices used as teaching aids, including, but not limited to, barometers, manometers and thermometers, if no adequate mercury-free substitute exits.
(2) Beginning January 1, 2007, no person shall sell, offer to sell, distribute or offer to distribute a mercury switch or mercury relay individually or as a product component. For a product that contains one or more mercury switches or mercury replays as a component, this subsection is applicable to each component part or parts and not the entire product. This subsection does not apply to the following:
(a) Mercury switches and mercury relays used in medical diagnostic equipment regulated under the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
(b) Mercury switches and mercury relays used at electric generating facilities.
(c) Mercury switches in thermostats used to sense and control room temperature.
(d) Mercury switches and mercury relays require to be used under federal law or federal contract specifications.
(e) A mercury switch or mercury relay used to replace a mercury switch or mercury relay that is a component in a larger product in use prior to July 1, 2007, and one (1) of the following applies:
(i) The larger product is used in manufacturing; or
(ii) The mercury switch or mercury relay is integrated and not physically separate from other components of the larger product.
(3) No later than July 1, 2006, the manufacturer of a mercury switch or mercury relay, or a scientific instrument or piece of instructional equipment containing mercury added during its manufacture, may apply to the Department of Environmental Quality for an exemption from this section for one or more specific uses of the switch, relay, instruction or piece of equipment by filing a written petition with the department. The Department of Environmental Quality may grant an exemption, with or without conditions, if the manufacturer demonstrates the following:
(a) A convenient and widely available system exists for the proper collection, transportation and processing of the switch, relay, instrument or piece of equipment at the end of its useful life; and
(b) The specific use or uses of the switch, relay, instrument or piece of equipment provides a net benefit to the environment, public health or public safety when compared to available nonmercury alternatives.
Before approving any exemption under this subsection, the department must consult with other states to promote consistency in the regulation of products containing mercury added during their manufacture. Exemptions shall be granted for a period of five (5) years. The manufacturer may request renewals of the exemption for additional five-year periods by filing additional written petitions with the department. The department may renew an exemption if the manufacturer demonstrates that the criteria set forth in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection continue to be satisfied. All petitions for an exemption or exemption renewal shall be submitted on forms prescribed by the department.
The department must adopt rules for processing petitions submitted pursuant to this subsection. The rules shall include, but shall not be limited to, provisions allowing for the submission of written public comments on the petitions.
(4) No later than January 1, 2006, the department must submit to the Governor and the Legislature a report that includes the following:
(a) An evaluation of programs to reduce and recycle mercury from mercury thermostats and mercury vehicle components; and
(b) Recommendations for altering the programs to make them more effective.
In preparing the report, the department may seek information from and consult with businesses, trade associations, environmental organizations and other government agencies.
(5) If the United States Environmental Protection Agency adopts streamlined hazardous waste regulations pertaining to the management of mercury switches or mercury relays, or scientific instruments or instructional equipment containing mercury added during their manufacture, or otherwise exempts such items from regulation as hazardous waste, the Commission on Environmental Quality shall adopt equivalent rules within one hundred eighty (180) days of adoption of the federal regulations.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.