Mercury Poisoning

Recycling and Disposal

EPA encourages the recycling of mercury-containing products rather than disposing of them in regular household trash. Recycling of mercury-containing products is one of the best ways to help prevent mercury releases to the environment by keeping these products out of landfills and incinerators.

Some localities have collection/exchange programs for mercury-containing devices, such as thermometers, manometers, and thermostats, and recycling programs for fluorescent light bulbs. Some counties and cities also have household hazardous waste collection programs. For information about these programs, contact your local officials to find out when and where a collection will be held in your area.

Spills and Cleanup

Mercury is used in a variety of consumer products such as thermometers and fluorescent bulbs. If you accidentally break a mercury-containing product during use, or improperly dispose of such products, they will release mercury vapors that are harmful to human and ecological health.

Spills - Information on what to do, and what never to do, if you spill mercury.

Mercury-Containing Products

Elemental mercury has properties that have led to its use in many different products and industrial sectors. While some manufacturers have reduced or eliminated their use of mercury in products, there are still many consumer items in the marketplace that contain mercury. EPA encourages individuals, organizations and businesses to use non-mercury alternatives and to recycle unused mercury-containing products whenever possible.

Consumer and Commercial Products - This Web page provides more extensive information on mercury-containing products, plus links to related information from other federal agencies, state environmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

EPA's Database on Mercury-Containing Products and Alternatives - This searchable database contains publicly available information on consumer and commercial products that contain mercury, and also information on non-mercury alternatives. This is a Windows database designed to be downloaded to operate on an individual computer. The primary source of information on mercury-containing products is the IMERC Mercury-added Products Database, which is discussed below. EPA supplements the IMERC data with publicly available information on additional mercury-containing products. Information on non-mercury alternatives is gathered from a variety of public sources, including industry associations, non-governmental organizations, numerous Web sites and published reports. The information is updated annually.

Interstate Mercury Education & Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC) Mercury-Added Products Database - The IMERC database is managed by the Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA). It presents information on: (1) the amount and purpose of mercury in specific products that are sold in eight IMERC-member states; (2) the total amount of mercury in these products sold nationally in a given year; and (3) the manufacturers of these products. The information is submitted to IMERC by or on behalf of product manufacturers in compliance with laws in the eight states of Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Notification requirements have been in effect for products manufactured or distributed in these states beginning in January 2001. The information is updated every three years.

Where You Live

Where you live - Mercury can be found almost anywhere. On this page, you will find a list of links to information about mercury in your home, community, state, region, and the world.


American Academy of Pediatrics. "How to Take a Child's Temperature." Nov 21, 2015.

Environmental Defense Fund. Mercury alert: Is canned tuna safe to eat?

Menon, Shanti. "Mercury Guide." Natural Resources Defense Council. Updated: Mar 10, 2016.

Olson, D.A., MD. "Mercury Toxicity Treatment & Management." Medscape. Updated Oct 23, 2015.

Olson, D.A., MD. "Mercury Toxicity Workup." Medscape. Updated: Oct 23,2015.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mercury in Your Environment. Updated: Jul 26, 2016.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/12/2016

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