Mercury is a cross-media pollutant that is difficult to address due to the cumulative impacts of various discharges, the high number of diffuse low-level sources, and transport from distant sources which contribute to global and local atmospheric pools.
Air pollution sources cause direct deposition onto our land, lakes and rivers where bacteria change the mercury to a very mobile and easily ingestible form called methyl mercury. It is this form that allows mercury to bioaccumulate through the food chain, thus having the largest health affect on humans.
Mercury switches have been traditionally used in automobiles and appliances because of their reliability. The switches are mainly used to turn on lights in glove boxes, trunk hoods, engine hoods, and chest freezer lids. Automobiles and appliances are recycled through scrap handlers, iron foundries and the Rocky Mountain Steel Mill (RMSM) in Pueblo, Colorado. If the mercury switch is not removed prior to shredding, the mercury will be released to the environment through the ensuing processes.
After successfully implementing an in-state mercury switch collection program from 2004 through 2006, Colorado became a participant state in the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program in 2007. The national program was initiated in 2006 when the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), several states and members of the auto industry, steel industry, vehicle dismantlers, vehicle shredders, and the environmental community signed a shared responsibility agreement to collect and recycle mercury switches from end-of-life vehicles.
To implement this agreement, the End of Life Vehicle Solutions (ELVS) Corporation was created by the auto industry to provide education, collection and recycling of automotive mercury switches. To learn more about this program and/or to join, contact End of Life Vehicle Solutions (ELVS) via website, phone or mail.
PO Box 3282