58th Legislature
2003 Regular Session

Passed by the House April 22, 2003
  Yeas 97   Nays 0

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Passed by the Senate April 17, 2003
  Yeas 47   Nays 1

President of the Senate

I, Cynthia Zehnder, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is ENGROSSED SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1002 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.

Chief Clerk

Governor of the State of Washington

Secretary of State
State of Washington




Passed Legislature - 2003 Regular Session
State of Washington58th Legislature2003 Regular Session

By House Committee on Fisheries, Ecology & Parks (originally sponsored by Representatives Hunt, Berkey, Cooper, Romero, Linville, Chase, Kagi, Wood, Simpson, Morrell, Rockefeller, Ruderman, Fromhold, Dickerson, Conway, Kessler, Cody, Jarrett, Veloria, O'Brien, Campbell, McDermott, Clibborn, Sullivan, Nixon, McIntire, Lantz, Moeller and Hudgins)

READ FIRST TIME 02/13/03.   

     AN ACT Relating to mercury reduction and education; adding a new chapter to Title 70 RCW; creating a new section; and prescribing penalties.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   The legislature finds that the protection of the environment is of utmost importance to ensuring the health and safety of the citizens of the state of Washington. The legislature further finds that fish caught commercially and recreationally provide an important element in a healthy diet, and that the fish caught in Washington waters need to be protected from any sources that might impact the healthfulness of consuming such fish. The legislature further finds that species caught in our region are safe for citizens to eat.
     Therefore, the legislature intends to take all measures necessary to ensure that fish caught within our state's waters continue to be safe from any degrading influences.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2   The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
     (1) "Automotive mercury switch" includes a convenience switch, such as a switch for a trunk or hood light, and a mercury switch in antilock brake systems.
     (2) "Department" means the department of ecology.
     (3) "Director" means the director of the department of ecology.
     (4) "Health care facility" includes a hospital, nursing home, extended care facility, long-term care facility, clinical or medical laboratory, state or private health or mental institution, clinic, physician's office, or health maintenance organization.
     (5) "Manufacturer" includes any person, firm, association, partnership, corporation, governmental entity, organization, or joint venture that produces a mercury-added product or an importer or domestic distributor of a mercury-added product produced in a foreign country. In the case of a multicomponent product containing mercury, the manufacturer is the last manufacturer to produce or assemble the product. If the multicomponent product or mercury-added product is produced in a foreign country, the manufacturer is the first importer or domestic distributor.
     (6) "Mercury-added button-cell battery" means a button-cell battery to which the manufacturer intentionally introduces mercury for the operation of the battery.
     (7) "Mercury-added novelty" means a mercury-added product intended mainly for personal or household enjoyment or adornment. Mercury-added novelties include, but are not limited to, items intended for use as practical jokes, figurines, adornments, toys, games, cards, ornaments, yard statues and figures, candles, jewelry, holiday decorations, items of apparel, and other similar products. Mercury-added novelty does not include games, toys, or products that require a button-cell or lithium battery, liquid crystal display screens, or a lamp that contains mercury.
     (8) "Mercury-added product" means a product, commodity, or chemical, or a product with a component that contains mercury or a mercury compound intentionally added to the product, commodity, or chemical in order to provide a specific characteristic, appearance, or quality, or to perform a specific function, or for any other reason. Mercury-added products include, but are not limited to, mercury thermometers, mercury thermostats, and mercury switches in motor vehicles.
     (9) "Mercury manometer" means a mercury-added product that is used for measuring blood pressure.
     (10) "Mercury thermometer" means a mercury-added product that is used for measuring temperature.
     (11) "Retailer" means a retailer of a mercury-added product.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3   (1) Effective January 1, 2004, a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer may not knowingly sell at retail a fluorescent lamp if the fluorescent lamp contains mercury and was manufactured after November 30, 2003, unless the fluorescent lamp is labeled in accordance with the guidelines listed under subsection (2) of this section. Primary responsibility for affixing labels required under this section is on the manufacturer, and not on the wholesaler or retailer.
     (2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, a lamp is considered labeled pursuant to subsection (1) of this section if the lamp has all of the following:
     (a) A label affixed to the lamp that displays the internationally recognized symbol for the element mercury; and
     (b) A label on the lamp's packaging that: (i) Clearly informs the purchaser that mercury is present in the item; (ii) explains that the fluorescent lamp should be disposed of according to applicable federal, state, and local laws; and (iii) provides a toll-free telephone number, and a uniform resource locator internet address to a web site, that contains information on applicable disposal laws.
     (3) The manufacturer of a mercury-added lamp is in compliance with the requirements of this section if the manufacturer is in compliance with the labeling requirements of another state.
     (4) The provisions of this section do not apply to products containing mercury-added lamps.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4   The department of health must develop an educational plan for schools, local governments, businesses, and the public on the proper disposal methods for mercury and mercury-added products.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5   A school may not purchase for use in a primary or secondary classroom bulk elemental mercury or chemical mercury compounds. By January 1, 2006, all primary and secondary schools in the state must remove and properly dispose of all bulk elemental mercury, chemical mercury, and bulk mercury compounds used as teaching aids in science classrooms, not including barometers.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 6   (1) Effective January 1, 2006, no person may sell, offer for sale, or distribute for sale or use in this state a mercury-added novelty. A manufacturer of mercury-added novelties must notify all retailers that sell the product about the provisions of this section and how to properly dispose of any remaining mercury-added novelty inventory.
     (2)(a) Effective January 1, 2006, no person may sell, offer for sale, or distribute for sale or use in this state a manometer used to measure blood pressure or a thermometer that contains mercury. This subsection (2)(a) does not apply to:
     (i) An electronic thermometer with a button cell battery containing mercury;
     (ii) A thermometer that contains mercury and that is used for food research and development or food processing, including meat, dairy products, and pet food processing;
     (iii) A thermometer that contains mercury and that is a component of an animal agriculture climate control system or industrial measurement system or for veterinary medicine until such a time as the system is replaced or a nonmercury component for the system or application is available;
     (iv) A thermometer or manometer that contains mercury that is used for calibration of other thermometers, manometers, apparatus, or equipment, unless a nonmercury calibration standard is approved for the application by the national institute of standards and technology;
     (v) A thermometer that is provided by prescription. A manufacturer of a mercury thermometer shall supply clear instructions on the careful handling of the thermometer to avoid breakage and proper cleanup should a breakage occur; or
     (vi) A manometer or thermometer sold or distributed to a hospital, or a health care facility controlled by a hospital, if the hospital has adopted a plan for mercury reduction consistent with the goals of the mercury chemical action plan developed by the department under section 302, chapter 371, Laws of 2002.
     (b) A manufacturer of thermometers that contain mercury must notify all retailers that sell the product about the provisions of this section and how to properly dispose of any remaining thermometer inventory.
     (3) Effective January 1, 2006, no person may sell, install, or reinstall a commercial or residential thermostat that contains mercury unless the manufacturer of the thermostat conducts or participates in a thermostat recovery or recycling program designed to assist contractors in the proper disposal of thermostats that contain mercury in accordance with 42 U.S.C. Sec. 6901, et seq., the federal resource conservation and recovery act.
     (4) No person may sell, offer for sale, or distribute for sale or use in this state a motor vehicle manufactured after January 1, 2006, if the motor vehicle contains an automotive mercury switch.
     (5) Nothing in this section restricts the ability of a manufacturer, importer, or domestic distributor from transporting products through the state, or storing products in the state for later distribution outside the state.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 7   (1) The department of general administration must, by January 1, 2005, revise its rules, policies, and guidelines to implement the purpose of this chapter.
     (2) The department of general administration must give priority and preference to the purchase of equipment, supplies, and other products that contain no mercury-added compounds or components, unless: (a) There is no economically feasible nonmercury-added alternative that performs a similar function; or (b) the product containing mercury is designed to reduce electricity consumption by at least forty percent and there is no nonmercury or lower mercury alternative available that saves the same or a greater amount of electricity as the exempted product. In circumstances where a nonmercury-added product is not available, preference must be given to the purchase of products that contain the least amount of mercury added to the product necessary for the required performance.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 8   The department is authorized to participate in a regional or multistate clearinghouse to assist in carrying out any of the requirements of this chapter. A clearinghouse may also be used for examining notification and label requirements, developing education and outreach activities, and maintaining a list of all mercury-added products.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 9   A violation of this chapter is punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars for each violation in the case of a first violation. Repeat violators are liable for a civil penalty not to exceed five thousand dollars for each repeat violation. Penalties collected under this section must be deposited in the state toxics control account created in RCW 70.105D.070.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 10   Nothing in this chapter applies to crematories as that term is defined in RCW 68.04.070.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 11   Any fiscal impact on the department or the department of health that results from the implementation of this chapter must be paid for out of funds that are appropriated by the legislature from the state toxics control account for the implementation of the department's persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemical strategy.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 12   Nothing in this chapter applies to prescription drugs regulated by the food and drug administration under the federal food, drug, and cosmetic act (21 U.S.C. Sec. 301 et seq.), to biological products regulated by the food and drug administration under the public health service act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 262 et seq.), or to any substance that may be lawfully sold over-the-counter without a prescription under the federal food, drug, and cosmetic act (21 U.S.C. Sec. 301 et seq.).

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 13   Nothing in section 3, 6 (1), (3), or (4), or 7 of this act applies to medical equipment or reagents used in medical or research tests regulated by the food and drug administration under the federal food, drug, and cosmetic act (21 U.S.C. Sec. 301 et seq.).

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 14   The department of ecology shall petition the United States environmental protection agency requesting development of a national mercury repository site.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 15   Sections 1 through 13 of this act constitute a new chapter in Title 70 RCW.

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