Mercury containing light switches in cars will now need to be removed before being scrapped, after a pact was reached between President Bush's administration and steel and auto industries. Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post reports that participants will be given a financial incentive to remove the switches and failure to comply could possibly mean mercury emission regulations from furnaces used to melt used vehicles.
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration has brokered a pact with the steel and auto industry to remove millions of mercury-containing light switches from vehicles before they are scrapped.
Although foreign automakers stopped using mercury in their cars' lighting systems in 1993 and domestic manufacturers did the same in 2002, about 67.5 million switches are still used in older cars and trucks. Mercury -- which is released into the air when recyclers flatten, shred and melt old automobiles into steel -- is a poison that can cause neurological and developmental problems in infants and small children.
Over the next 15 years the program will reduce the country's annual mercury pollution by at least 5 percent, said Environmental Protection Agency administrator Steve Johnson in an interview Friday. Under the pact announced Friday, the steel and auto industries each will pay $2 million to recover 4 million switches over the next three years.
Although current law bans the selling mercury containing switch automobiles in California, there are still many cars on our roadways containing this liability to our public health. CAW has worked on efforts in the past to establish the safe removal and recycling of mercury switches in cars.
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