New NY Law Requires Collecting Old Thermostats


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday signed a law requiring manufacturers of thermostats with mercury to collect their old temperature controls in an effort to keep mercury out of the environment.

The measure requires they establish collection programs and in 2015 start filing annual reports on collections.

The collection goal is 15,500 for 2015, with state conservation officials required to set goals for 2016 through 2023.

Sponsors say mercury exposure has been shown to impair brain development, with federal estimates suggesting 300,000 to 630,000 infants annually are born in the U.S. with mercury levels high enough to reduce intelligence.

Most states prohibit selling new mercury thermostats, but an estimated 2 million are thrown out every year while few are collected and recycled.

Broken thermostats can release mercury into the air.