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MERCURY USAGE AND ALTERNATIVES IN THE ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS INDUSTRIES
Sass, B. M., M. A. Salem, L. A. Smith, AND P M. Randall*. MERCURY USAGE AND ALTERNATIVES IN THE ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS INDUSTRIES. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/R-94/047 (NTIS PB94-165362), 1994.
Many industries have already found alternatives for mercury or have greatly decreased mercury use. However, the unique electromechanical and photoelectric properties of mercury and mercury compounds have made replacement of mercury difficult in some applications. This study was initiated to identify source reduction and recycling options for mercury in the electrical and electronics industry (SIC 36) and measurement and control instrument manufacture (SIC 382). The project identified trends in pollution prevention for mercury use throughout the U.S. economy by a review of the sources and use of mercury in the economy. Regulatory trends encouraging mercury pollution prevention were examined, and current practices in the electrical and electronics industry were reviewed in detail to identify potential source reduction and reuse options for mercury. Industrial and economic data suggest that the quantity of mercury used in electrical and electronic control and switching devices is significant. Opportunities have been identified to replace mercury-containing devices. For applications where mercury cannot be avoided, recycling, mainly by vacuum retorting, is commercially available.