Mercury Devices

  • Thermometers
  • Non-electric thermostats
  • Clothes irons (automatic shut-off)
  • Curling irons (automatic shut-off)
  • Mercurochrome and Merthiolate
  • Certain automotive headlamps
  • Old marine paint
  • Old alkaline batteries not labeled “99% mercury free”
  • Old mercuric oxide batteries
  • Thermostats

Mercury – A Little Goes a Long Way

Mercury is a nerve toxin that can impair the way we see, hear, walk, and talk. When mercury reaches our lakes and rivers, bacteria converts it to methyl mercury, mercury’s most toxic form. Methyl mercury contaminates the food chain by accumulating in the tissues of fish and wildlife, and the humans who eat them. Only one gram of mercury in a lake can contaminate the fish population. In comparison, the average household thermostat contains at least three grams of mercury. This is a serious concern in Indiana as 99% of all fish sampled in Indiana have mercury in their tissue!

Where Is Mercury Found?

Fossil fuel (coal) combustion is the primary source of mercury in Indiana. There are several items in your households that may contain mercury. Take care to ensure this mercury does not enter the environment when the item has reached the end of its useful life. We can minimize this risk by reducing our use of mercury containing products and by properly diverting mercury from landfills and incinerators. Recycling of mercury is a safe and reasonable solution.

Household Devices with Mercury

Mercury switches and relays are found in some chest freezers, sump pumps, clothes washers, electric space heaters, and bilge pumps Mercury thermostat probes can be found in some gas ranges, ovens, clothes dryers, water heaters, furnaces, and space heaters. The Recycle Depot accepts mercury devices for proper disposal.