Mercury is a heavy metal that can accumulate in living tissue. Exposure to mercury, when released into the environment through spills or incineration, can be toxic to humans and wildlife, or cause other health effects such as neurological and reproductive disorders. Therefore, proper management of used mercury-containing items and elemental mercury is important to protect human health and the environment. By keeping mercury-containing items and elemental mercury out of the trash, or preventing them from going down the drain, we reduce the potential for exposure to mercury. When products containing mercury are discarded in the trash, they simply do not disappear. Most of our trash is incinerated at a resources recovery facility. If a mercury-containing device is incinerated at such a facility, the mercury may enter the environment through the smoke stacks or through the resulting ash. If a mercury-containing device should break while in the waste stream, the mercury may be released into the environment.
By reducing the amount of mercury we use, we can then recycle only what is necessary for useful products for which there is no effective alternative. Bringing elemental mercury and mercury-containing items such as thermometers, thermostats and fluorescent lights to a household hazardous waste collection is one way to properly dispose of mercury-containing items. Another way to reduce the amount of mercury in the environment is to bring the used mercury-containing item, such as fluorescent lamps, to a licensed recycling facility. Check the household hazardous waste and recycling information pages of the Connecticut DEEP website for information on household hazardous waste collection programs and recycling opportunities.
If you have a mercury spill, please report it to the CT DEEP 24-hour Emergency Response and Spill Prevention Hotline at: 860-424-3338; or Toll Free at 1-866-DEP-SPIL (1-866-337-7745). If these numbers are unavailable for any reason, call (860) 424-3333.
For questions regarding potential mercury poisoning, contact the Poison Control Center at the UCONN Health Center at 1-800-222-1222.
For general questions about mercury, please call the Mercury Information Line at 1-877-537-2488.
Information for the Auto Industry - CT DEEP encourages Connecticut recycling/dismantling businesses to participate in the Mercury Switch Recovery Program, a national voluntary program to divert mercury switches from waste stream by removing and recycle them from vehicles before they are crushed and shredded for recycling.
CT Department of Public Health:
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Bureau of Materials Management and Compliance Assurance
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106-5127
Phone: Mercury Information Line at 1-877-537-2488 (This toll-free information line is available during business hours 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
You may also visit our office Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Content Last Updated on October 2019