Mercury-Added Products Sales Bans, Labeling and Notification Requirements
Maine law bans the sale of many mercury-added products. Those that are not banned must be labeled prior to sale, and the manufacturer must notify Maine DEP of the amount and purpose of the mercury.
A person may not offer for sale or distribution many products that contain intentionally added mercury, including:
- motor vehicles manufactured after 1/1/03 that contain a mercury switch of any type
- switches and relays
- esophageal dilators, bougie tubes, and gastrointestinal tubes
- flow meters
- psychrometers and hygrometers
- button cell batteries and products containing button cell batteries, including zinc-air, alkaline manganese, and silver oxide button cell battery stamped with the designation 357, 364, 371, 377, 395, SR44W, SR621SW, SR626SW, SR920SW or SR927SW or a silver oxide button cell battery that is interchangeable with a battery that is stamped with one of those designations. After January 1, 2015, a person may not sell or offer to sell or distribute a silver oxide mercury-added button cell battery or a product that contains a silver oxide mercury-added button cell battery.
There are limited exceptions to these prohibitions. For example, the sale of mercury switches as replacement parts and the sale of used products listed above are not prohibited in most cases. In addition, an exemption may be granted to meet specific advanced technology product specifications. An advanced technology product means a product of extraordinary function or design intended for use in unique or customized industrial or military applications and not intended for general distribution.
Maine law also bans the sale or provision of elemental mercury to another person, except it is allowed for manufacturing or recycling purposes with the provision of a material safety data sheet and a signed statement from the purchaser or recipient that the purchaser or recipient:
- Will use the mercury only for medical, dental amalgam dispose-caps or research purposes;
- Understands that mercury is toxic and that the purchaser will store and use it appropriately so that no person is exposed to mercury; and,
- Will not place or allow anyone under the purchaser’s control to place or cause to be placed the mercury in solid waste for disposal or in wastewater treatment and disposal system.
See 38 MRSA Section 1661-C for mercury-added product sales restrictions.
Applications for mercury-added phase out exemptions can be filed with Interstate Education and Reduction Clearinghouse IMERC.
Mercury-added Product Notification and Labeling
Who must notify and label?
Under 38 MRSA §1661-A, products to which mercury is intentionally added during formulation or manufacture and which are not banned from sale in Maine may be offered for sale or distribution in Maine provided the manufacturer has notified the DEP about the presence, purpose and amount of mercury in the product. Under 38 MRSA §1662 mercury-added products that are not banned from sale, including lamps, certain motor vehicle components, and products for which a sales ban exemption have been obtained, must be labeled in conformance with DEP Chapter 870 rules. If the product is a component of a larger product, the larger product also must be labeled except for products in which the only mercury-added component is a lamp which is not replaceable by the product user.
Although the product manufacturer bears primary responsibility for filing the notification, a wholesaler, distributor, or importer may submit the notification for products they intend to sell or distribute in Maine if the manufacturer has failed to do so. Similarly, although the product manufacturer bears primary responsibility for affixing the required label to the mercury-added products, the label also may be affixed by distributors, importers or retailers as long as it is in place before the product is offered for sale in Maine.
The notification and labeling requirements apply to retail, wholesale or internet sales. The notification requirement applies to any product, except drugs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, to which mercury or a mercury compound has been intentionally added, whether directly to the product or to a component of the product for any reason.
How to notify
Maine participates in the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC) to provide consistency in notification procedures from state to state. A manufacturer who wishes to notify all IMERC-participating states simultaneously can file one form with the clearinghouse provided the manufacturer is not asking that any of the information be kept confidential (see IMERC web links below). If the manufacturer or importer wishes to keep some information confidential, the IMERC notification form should be submitted directly to Maine DEP program contact with a letter explaining reasons for requesting confidential business information.
How to label
Manufacturers, domestic distributors, or importers can:
- Simply affix a label on the product that meets the labeling standards in Department Rule Chapter 870; OR
- Apply for an alternative compliance plan to labeling with Maine or Interstate Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC); OR
- Submit a labeling or an alternative labeling plan approved by another state for approval in Maine
To assure consistency, Maine is participating in the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC). A manufacturer who wishes to label in all IMERC-participating states simultaneously can file one form with the clearinghouse provided the manufacturer is not asking that any of the information be kept confidential. If the manufacturer or importer wishes to keep some information confidential, the IMERC labeling form should be submitted directly to the Maine DEP program contact with a letter explaining reasons for requesting confidential business information.
- IMERC - Mercury Product Labeling and Notification (Off-Site)
Notification requirement for vendors and contractors
Important Notice to Lighting Vendors and Contractor - Anyone selling more than 200 lamps at any one time must notify the customer regarding mercury content on the invoice. The notice must state that the lamps contain mercury, a hazardous substance that is regulated by federal and state law, and that they may not be placed in solid waste destined for disposal but must be recycled.
Carole Cifrino (207) 485-8160