Mercury Education & Reduction Act (MERA)

Washington's Mercury Education and Reduction Act (MERA) (Chapter 70A.230 RCW) does the following:

  • Bans the sale of certain mercury-containing products.
  • Requires mercury-containing light bulbs and lamps be labeled.
  • Requires the removal of mercury from schools.
  • Requires all mercury-containing lights be recycled when no longer usable.

MERA was created to reduce mercury exposure. Failure to follow this law may result in penalties of $1,000 for the first violation, and up to $5,000 for further violations.

Prohibited products

MERA prohibits the sale of mercury-containing products in Washington, such as:

  • Thermometers.
  • Manometers or blood-pressure gauges.
  • Commercial or residential thermostats (unless the manufacturer participates in a recovery or recycling program).
  • Novelties (e.g., toys, games, clothing, ointments, and other items) where mercury is intentionally added.
  • New cars.

School requirements

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.

Labeling requirements

Mercury-containing fluorescent lamps

Manufacturers, should they continue to sell mercury-containing fluorescent lamps, must clearly label them according to the fluorescent lamp labeling requirements.

All other mercury items

The Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse provides standard labeling requirements for mercury-containing items.

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Mercury replacement and disposal programs

The following programs offer financial incentive to dispose of or replace mercury-related items to eligible applicants: