2009 - 2010 LEGISLATURE
June 2, 2009 - Introduced by Representatives Danou, Benedict, Pope-Roberts,
Pocan, A. Ott, Dexter, Parisi, Milroy, Bernard Schaber, Sinicki, Richards
and Mason, cosponsored by Senators Jauch, Coggs, Cowles, Lassa, Lehman,
Miller, Risser, Robson, Sullivan, Taylor and Wirch. Referred to Committee
on Natural Resources.
1An Act to create
100.275 and 118.07 (4) of the statutes; relating to: products
2containing mercury and granting rule-making authority.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill regulates the sale of products to which mercury has been added during
formulation and manufacture (mercury-added products), including fever
thermometers, manometers (instruments for measuring pressure), thermostats,
instruments and measuring devices, switches and relays, and household items.
Under the bill, fever thermometers containing mercury may be sold only upon
a prescription, and must contain instructions for use and disposal and cleanup if the
thermometer breaks. The bill prohibits the sale of manometers that contain
mercury. Under the bill, manufacturers of manometers that contain mercury and
that are the type in milking machines must notify wholesalers and retailers of the
prohibition and provide instructions for disposal of remaining inventory. The bill
also prohibits the sale of certain products containing mercury, including
thermostats, other instruments and switches, and household items such as toys,
clothing, and cosmetics.
The bill authorizes a manufacturer or user of certain mercury-added products
to petition the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for an exemption from the
bill's prohibitions. DNR may grant such an exemption only if the petitioner
establishes certain facts, including that technically feasible nonmercury
alternatives are not available at comparable cost.
This bill prohibits a public, private, or charter school from knowingly
purchasing or using free-flowing elemental mercury for any purpose, or, with certain
exceptions, from knowingly purchasing or using a mercury-containing compound or
an instrument or measuring device containing mercury. Beginning January 1, 2012,
the bill prohibits a public, private, or charter school from knowingly storing
free-flowing elemental mercury or, with certain exceptions, from storing a
mercury-containing compound or an instrument or measuring device containing
A public, private, or charter school may purchase, use, or store a
mercury-containing compound or an instrument or measuring device containing
mercury if one of the following exceptions applies:
1. The purchase or use of the compound, instrument, or measuring device is
required under federal law.
2. The only mercury-added component in the instrument or measuring device
is a button cell battery.
3. No reasonably acceptable, mercury-free alternative exists, in which case,
only a compound, instrument, or measuring device that contains the lowest mercury
content available may be used.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB299, s. 1
100.275 of the statutes is created to read:
2100.275 Products containing mercury.
In this section:
(a) "Mercury-added product" means a product to which mercury is 4
intentionally added during formulation or manufacture, or a product containing one 5
or more components to which mercury is intentionally added during formulation or 6
(b) "Mercury-added thermostat" means a product or device that uses a mercury 8
switch to sense and control room temperature through communication with heating, 9
ventilating, or air-conditioning equipment. "Mercury-added thermostat" includes 10
thermostats used to sense and control room temperature in residential, commercial, 11
industrial, and other buildings, but does not include a thermostat used to sense and 12
control temperature as part of a manufacturing process.
(c) "Mercury relay" means a mercury-added product or device that opens or 2
closes electrical contacts to effect the operation of other devices in the same or 3
another electrical circuit. "Mercury relay" includes mercury displacement relays, 4
mercury wetted reed relays, and mercury contact relays.
(d) "Mercury switch" means a mercury-added product or device that opens or 6
closes an electrical circuit or gas valve. "Mercury switch" includes mercury float 7
switches actuated by rising or falling liquid levels, mercury tilt switches actuated by 8
a change in the switch position, mercury pressure switches actuated by a change in 9
pressure, mercury temperature switches actuated by a change in temperature, and 10
mercury flame sensors. "Mercury switch" does not include a mercury-added 11
12(2) Restrictions on sale and use of mercury.
(a) Fever thermometers.
person may sell or supply a mercury fever thermometer to a consumer or patient, 14
unless the thermometer has been prescribed for the consumer or patient by a 15
practitioner, as defined in s. 450.01 (17). A mercury fever thermometer 16
manufacturer shall supply with each thermometer clear instructions on the careful 17
handling of the thermometer to avoid breakage, on proper cleanup if the 18
thermometer breaks, and on proper disposal. For purposes of this subsection, 19
"mercury fever thermometer" means a thermometer that contains mercury for the 20
purpose of measuring body temperature, but does not include a thermometer 21
containing mercury solely within a button cell battery.
No person may sell or distribute a mercury-containing 23
manometer of the type in milking machines on dairy farms. Manufacturers of such 24
mercury-containing manometers shall notify wholesalers and retailers that the sale
or distribution of such manometers is prohibited and shall instruct them on the 2
proper disposal of remaining inventory.
(c) Mercury-added thermostats.
No person may sell, or distribute for 4
promotional purposes, a mercury-added thermostat.
(d) Instruments and measuring devices.
1. No person may sell or distribute any 6
of the following items, if the item contains mercury:
a. A barometer.
b. An esophageal dilator, bougie tube, or gastrointestinal tube.
c. A flowmeter.
d. A hydrometer.
e. A hygrometer or psychrometer.
f. A manometer other than a manometer prohibited from sale under par. (b).
g. A pyrometer.
h. A sphygmomanometer.
i. A thermometer other than a thermometer prohibited from sale under par. (a).
2. Subdivision 1. does not apply to the sale of a mercury-added product listed 17
in subd. 1. a. to i. if use of the product is required under federal law or if the only 18
mercury-added component in the product is a button cell battery.
(e) Mercury switches and relays.
1. No person may sell or distribute, 20
individually or as a product component, a mercury switch or mercury relay. This 21
subdivision does not apply to a switch or relay that is used to replace a switch or relay 22
that is a component in a larger product in use prior to the effective date of this 23
subdivision .... [LRB inserts date], if one of the following applies:
a. The larger product is used in manufacturing.
b. The switch or relay is integrated with, and not physically separate from, 2
other components of the larger product.
2. Subdivision 1. does not apply to the sale of a mercury switch or mercury relay 4
if use of the switch or relay is a federal requirement.
(f) Household items.
No person may sell or distribute any of the following items 6
if the item contains mercury, unless the only mercury-added component in the item 7
is a button cell battery:
1. A toy or game.
3. Clothing or shoes.
4. An over-the-counter pharmaceutical product for human use.
5. A cosmetic, toiletry, or fragrance product.
(a) The prohibitions under this section do not apply to the sale 14
of a mercury-added product for which the department of natural resources grants 15
an exemption under this subsection.
(b) A manufacturer or user of a product may apply for an exemption from this 17
section by filing a written petition with the department of natural resources. The 18
department of natural resources may grant an exemption with or without conditions 19
if it finds that the mercury-added product is reasonable and appropriate for a 20
specific use. The department of natural resources shall find that a product is 21
reasonable and appropriate for a specific use only if a manufacturer or user 22
establishes all of the following: