MoDNR begins mercury drop-off program

By Heartland News

(KFVS) - The Missouri Department of Natural Resource wants you to drop off mercury-containing instruments like thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, thermostats or switches at nine locations in southeast Missouri.

DNR is offering nearly 50 mercury drop-off locations across the state.

DNR asks anyone dropping off the items to secure them in two zip-top bags and place them in a sealed container such as a coffee can or plastic margarine tub.  The extra packaging is required in case the bulb breaks while being transported.

The program is not for compact fluorescent bulbs.  Learn more about disposal of CLF bulbs.

The campaign end on October 22 when a state contractor will pick up the items and recycle and dispose of them properly.

Call the the department's spill line at 573-634-2436 to arrange to have items picked up or drop them off at the following locations.

DNR says to call the site before taking mercury instruments for disposal, and never leave items if the facility is closed. Unless otherwise noted, mercury drop-off hours are Monday through Friday:

  • Cape Girardeau Health Department, 1121 Linden St., 573-335-7846, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Dent County Health Department, 601 S. MacArthur, Salem, 573-729-3106, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • West Plains Fire Department, 302 Jackie D. Garrett Drive, 417-256-2424, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Perry County Health Department, 406 N. Spring St., Perryville, 573-547-6564, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • St. Francois County Health Department, 1025 W. Main, Park Hills, 573-431-1947, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Missouri Department of Natural Resources - Southeast Regional Office, 2155 N. Westwood, Poplar Bluff, 573-840-9750, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Scott County Health Department, 102 Grove Estates Court, Sikeston, 573-471-4044, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Dunklin County Health Department, 410 Teaco Road, Kennett, 573-888-9008, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Texas County Health Department, 950 N. Highway 63, Houston, 417-967-4131, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Friday.

Metallic mercury is liquid at room temperature and has no odor. It was once commonly used in thermometers, barometers, switches and blood-pressure measuring devices.

When spilled, some of the metal will evaporate into the air and can be carried long distances. Mercury is toxic when inhaled. Improper clean up with a vacuum, paintbrush or household cleaner increases exposure by dispersing the mercury into the air. For more information on cleaning up mercury spills, see the department's Web site at http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/mercury-cleanup.htm.

Call DNR's Environmental Services Program at 573-634-2436 for more information.  Learn more about mercury, including health effects and how to clean up a small mercury spill.

Copyright 2010 KFVS. All rights reserved.