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EPP for Mercury in K-12 Schools

Organization(s) Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Project Description To ensure that schools no longer purchase items that contain mercury, the 2001-2002 Mercury School Clean Out project, conducted by NEWMOA and funded by MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA) and MA DEP, required participating schools to sign a participation agreement. An important condition of the agreement required schools to commit purchasing non-mercury items in the future where available. For mercury items where no non-mercury alternatives exist (e.g., fluorescent bulbs), the schools agreed to set up a recycling program for these items.

In order to assist schools in finding these non-mercury alternatives, NEWMOA created a table of common mercury items in schools and their non-mercury alternatives. For example, mercury laboratory thermometers can be replaced with alcohol or mineral spirit-filled glass bulb thermometers or with digital laboratory thermometers. Mercury barometers can be replaced with non-mercury aneroid or digital barometers. In the nurse's office, mercury sphygmomanometers can be replaced with aneroid or digital sphygmomanometers. Mercury thermometers for refrigerators (to verify correct temperatures for vaccinations) can be replaced with spirit-filled thermometers designed for this purpose.

With a little persistence, NEWMOA's staff was always able to find suitable non-mercury alternatives to the mercury-containing items in schools, except for the use of elemental mercury to physically and visually represent the concept of density. If anyone has any good ideas for visually demonstrating this concept, send NEWMOA an e-mail.

More Info www.newmoa.org/prevention/mercury/schools/
Project Contact
Name Meg Wilcox
Phone 617-367-8558 ext. 305
Project Keywords
Areas of P2 Expertise Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
Activity Keywords Funding and grants, New publication, Training/workshops
Newsletter Northeast States Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 12 No. 3, Fall 2002 [PDF]


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Last Modified 09/08/2009

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