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EPA issues rule to reduce mercury releases from steel manufacturing facilities


EPA issued new air emissions standards that will reduce mercury releases from steel manufacturers using electric arc furnaces. The rule requires these steel making facilities to buy motor vehicle scrap from providers that participate in an EPA-approved program for the removal of mercury switches.

This program, the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program, is designed to remove mercury-containing switches from scrap vehicles before the vehicles are flattened, shredded, and melted to make new steel. These switches were used for lighting in hoods and trunks and in some anti-lock braking systems of many vehicles manufactured prior to 2003.

The standards will prevent the release of about five tons of mercury in to the air each year. In addition, the rule will reduce emissions of other toxic metals such as lead, manganese, nickel and chromium by about 52 tons per year and particulate emissions by about 865 tons per year.

National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program:

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