Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is toxic to people and wildlife. Human activities such as coal burning and trash disposal have significantly increased mercury levels in the environment When products containing mercury are broken or thrown in the trash, outdoors, or down the drain, mercury cycles through the environment, polluting air and water, and accumulating in fish. You and your family can be exposed to mercury by breathing its fumes, eating contaminated fish, or touching spilled mercury.
All the New England states have lakes and ponds with fish that have elevated levels of mercury. In Massachusetts, almost half of the lakes and ponds tested have one or more types of fish with unsafe levels of mercury. Over 40 states have issued fish consumption advisories due to mercury.
Many common products contain mercury and can pollute the environment when they are incinerated, broken, or disposed of down drains.
Mercury containing thermometers
Batteries made before 1990
Button batteries, like those found in watches, calculators and hearing aids.
Pilot lights in gas appliances such as stoves, water heaters, furnaces, washers, dryers and heaters
Switches found in some smoke detctors
older chemistry sets
flat panel screens