Mercury Fact Sheets Target Plumbing, HVAC Contractors

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7, based in Kansas City, Kan., has developed fact sheets to inform plumbing, heating and cooling contractors who repair or replace mercury-containing gas regulators, pressure gauges, heat generators, and thermostats about the health risks and liability issues associated with a mercury release.

The fact sheets were created to help prevent mercury releases, which present a serious environmental and health problem. The information describes to contractors how to properly dismantle, contain, and dispose of mercury-containing units. The fact sheets also provide information on how to clean up mercury releases, health effects of a mercury release, who to contact if there are questions, and how to report a release.

An increasing number of residential mercury releases have been reported to EPA. Mercury releases have occurred from mercury pressure gauges used to test gas lines and from some types of home thermostats. Other mercury releases that have required significant cleanup efforts have resulted from plumbers working on old heating systems such as Honeywell heat generators and also mercury gas regulators.    

EPA's goal is for mercury-containing units to be properly disposed of after removal from residences. Plumbers, contractors, home inspectors, or anyone else who encounters these devices should be aware that they contain mercury, a hazardous material.

EPA is committed to providing education about mercury to the plumbing, heating and cooling industries. The fact sheets will be used to aid contractors in Region 7 who repair or replace these mercury-containing units. The fact sheets are available at www.epa.gov/region07/mercury/#contractors.

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