|The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is launching a summer-long effort Monday to rid homes of mercury, with nearly 50 mercury drop-off locations throughout the state, including 11 in southwest Missouri.
Private citizens or nonprofit agencies may visit the health department and leave mercury-containing instruments, like thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, thermostats or switches. These items may be dropped off from 8-11 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The dropped off items will be picked up by a state contractor at a collection point in Jefferson City after the campaign ends on October 22, 2010.
The DNR is asking that everyone secure each item in two zip-top bags and then place them in a sealed container such as a coffee can or plastic margarine tub. The extra packaging is required to prevent the release of mercury if the item breaks while being transported. Compact flourescent bulbs are not included in the program; for information about disposal of these items go here. Anyone who is uncomfortable with transporting mercury instruments, or who has large quantities of mercury, is asked to contact the department's spill line at (573) 634-2436 to arrange to have items picked up.
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 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.
If not listed, phone for hours; these health departments and other centers are open Monday through Friday. Drop off sites in the 417 area code of southwest Missouri include:
- Christian County, 301 E. Brick, Ozark, 581-7285.
- Lawrence County, 105 W. North St., Mt. Vernon, 417-466-2201, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Jasper County, 105 Lincoln, Carthage, 358-0481, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (closed noon-1 p.m.)
- Newton County, 812 W. Harmony, Neosho, 451-3743, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (closed 11 a.m.-1 p.m.)
- Stone County-North Office, 109 E. Fourth St., Galena, 357-8200.
- Stone County-South Office, 16914 State Highway 13, Branson West, 272-0050.
- Taney County-East Office, 15479 U.S. Highway 160, Forsyth, 546-4725.
- Taney County-West Office, 320 Rinehart Rd., Branson, 334-4544 ext 247.
- Webster County, 233 E. Washington, Marshfield, 859-2532, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Department of Natural Resources Southwest Regional Office, 2040 W. Woodland, Springfield, 891-4300, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Computer Recycling Center, 1434 N. National, Springfield, 866-2588, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.