LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A bill in the Wisconsin legislature would set stricter rules for recycling mercury thermostats.
Amber Meyer Smith from Clean Wisconsin said the bill is meant to get manufacturers to contribute more to recycling efforts, and to hold them accountable.
Meyer Smith said there are 10,000 infants born each year in the state who are risk for health issues, because of higher levels of mercury exposure.
She also said it only takes about a gram of mercury per year, which is less than the amount in a thermostat to contaminate a 20 acre lake over time.
“Mercury is a potent toxin. It affects the brain, liver and kidneys. It causes developmental disorders, it can lead to lower IQs, reduced memory and language skills in children,” said Meyer Smith.
Meyer Smith said the bill is modeled after Wisconsin’s electronic waste program, where manufacturers have to meet a specific recycling rate.
She also said there’s a $5 incentive to dispose a mercury thermostat properly.
However, there’s a $50 penalty for improper disposal.