Mercury Education and Reduction Act

Washington's Mercury Education and Reduction Act (MERA) bans the sale of certain mercury-containing products, requires the labeling of mercury containing light bulbs and lamps, and requires the removal of mercury from schools. 

MERA was created to reduce mercury exposure. The law has specific labeling requirements for mercury containing products, prohibits the sale of many products containing mercury, and requires removing mercury from schools. Failure to follow the law's requirements can be penalized by $1,000 for the first violation and up to $5,000 for further violations.

Prohibited products

MERA prohibits the following mercury-containing products in Washington:

  • Thermometers
  • Manometers or blood-pressure gauges
  • Commercial or residential thermostats (unless the manufacturer participates in a recovery/recycling program)
  • Novelties (toys, games, clothing, ointments, and other items) containing any amount of intentionally-added mercury
  • Newly-manufactured cars

Read more about prohibited sales.

Labeling requirements

You must clearly label all mercury-containing lights bulbs and lamps. They must clearly display the symbol for the element mercury (Hg).

The Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse provides standard marking requirements for mercury-containing items. The standard marking labels assure the product meets all state marking requirements. 

School requirements

All primary and secondary schools must remove and properly dispose of all bulk mercury, chemical mercury, and mercury compounds in science classrooms. Schools are not required to dispose of mercury barometers.