Mercury is a naturally occurring element (Hg on the periodic table) that is found in air, water and soil. It exists in several forms: elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. Elemental or metallic mercury is a shiny, silver-white metal and is liquid at room temperature. If heated, it is a colorless, odorless gas. Exposures to mercury can affect the human nervous system and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works with partners in state, local and tribal governments to implement a variety of programs designed to reduce mercury pollution and impacts. Most of EPA's environmental regulations and programs are implemented by the states. In addition, under U.S. environmental laws, the states are often permitted to adopt local environmental laws and regulations that are more stringent than federal requirements. For more information regarding mercury, please visit EPA's website.
- Mercury Thermostat Recycling - Iowa Code 455D.16 establishes a program for the collection and recycling of mercury thermostats.
- Mercury Switch Removal from Vehicles - The Mercury Free Recycling Act establishes a program for the recycling of mercury switches removed from end-of-life vehicles. Vehicle manufacturers have implemented a system for the collection and recovery of mercury switches used in trunk and hood lights, including an incentive payment to vehicle recyclers of $5 for each switch recovered.