EPA's Database on Mercury-Containing Products and Alternatives
Latest Version: 08-18-2008
If you have downloaded an earlier version, you will need to re-download to access the latest version.
EPA encourages informational updates or corrections at any time. The database will be updated frequently in 2008 after its launch. After that the database will be updated annually.
Listing a product in this EPA database does not signify EPA's endorsement of the product. No specific product in this database has been evaluated by EPA regarding its efficacy, environmental benefit or relative cost.
Related information for consumers
- Consumer and Commercial Products: Information about mercury content in antiques, batteries, dental amalgam, fluorescent light bulbs, jewelry, paint, switches and relays, thermometers, thermostats, and vaccines. This page also contains information about reducing use of, and recycling or otherwise disposing of, mercury-containing products.
- Information for Consumers: Links to information about sources of mercury exposure, potential health effects, fish that may contain mercury, consumer products that contain mercury, and ways to reduce your exposure to mercury.
- Safe Management of Mercury-Containing Products: A list of types of products that contain mercury, with recommendations for safe management and disposal.
On this page you will find:
- Why a Database for Alternatives to Products Containing Mercury?
- Database Content and Scope
- How to Download the Database
- Database Sources of Information on Mercury Products
- Database Sources of Information on Non-Mercury Alternatives
- How to Send New Information and Comments to EPA
Why a Database for Alternatives to Products Containing Mercury?
Many consumer and commercial products contain elemental, metallic mercury. Some products, such as mercury thermometers, can easily break and spill liquid mercury, potentially causing people nearby to be exposed to mercury vapor, which is odorless, colorless and toxic. Depending on the amount of exposure, mercury vapor absorbed through the lungs may result in adverse health effects, including damage to the gastrointestinal tract, the nervous system or kidneys. Anyone concerned about their potential exposure to metallic mercury (liquid or vapor) should consult a physician.
Mercury leaks or spills can be prevented through the safe management and recycling of mercury-containing products at the end of their useful lives. However the optimal way of preventing exposure to elemental mercury is to reduce the use of mercury-containing products by using alternatives whenever possible. In most cases, non-mercury alternatives exist for mercury-containing products.
Because EPA encourages individuals, organizations and businesses to use non-mercury alternatives whenever possible, it has created a searchable database that contains publicly-available information on products that contain mercury and non-mercury alternatives.
Database Content and Scope
The database contains information on:
- Mercury-containing equipment, devices, supplies and laboratory chemicals and coatings
- Non-mercury alternative products
- Companies that manufacture or distribute the products
Whenever possible, information is also provided on:
- Product use
- Approximate mercury content
- Contact information for companies
Scope of the database information:
- Limited to products containing mercury that has been intentionally added during the manufacturing process.
- Limited to products manufactured or sold in 2001 or later years.
- Does not include information on mercury-containing medicine, antibiotics and vaccines. Information on mercury-containing medicine, antibiotics and vaccines is available from the Food and Drug Administration.
- Does not include information on safe recycling or disposal of mercury-containing products, but information on recommended management (i.e., recycling or disposal) of some specific mercury-containing products is available on this web site..
- Limited to publicly-available information.
How to Download the Database
This Windows database is designed to be downloaded from this Web page to operate on an individual computer. Because it is not a Web-based database, the downloaded version will not update information automatically. You will therefore need to visit this Web page to see the date of the latest revision, and to download the database again to access the latest version.
The downloading process will take only a few minutes. Once the database is downloaded to your computer, you can then explore the database at your leisure without needing to be connected to the Internet.
There are two choices for downloading the database. Choose the one most appropriate to you.
Windows Version (28.44 MB): Choose this version if your computer uses Windows software. This version may not be accessible for all screen readers.
Steps for downloading:
- Click on the following link: http://envr.abtassoc.com/mercury/MercurySetup.exe.
- Internet Explorer users: When you see the pop-up message ("Do you want to run or save this file?"), click on "Run" to start the installation process. If you get a second pop-up message ("The publisher could not be verified. Are you sure you want to run this software?"), choose "Run" again. The software will be automatically installed.
- Firefox users: When you see the pop-up message ("You have chosen to open MercurySetup.exe which is a binary file…"), click "Save" to save this file to a location on your computer. Find the file on your computer and double-click it to start the installation process.
- After installation, look in your list of programs for "EPA Mercury-Containing Product Database." It will have an EPA logo.
- Create a shortcut to put an icon for the database on your computer desktop.
- Click on the icon to open the database.
HTML Version (6.53 MB): Choose this version if your computer uses Mac, Linux or another type of software, or if you are using a screen reader.
Steps for downloading:
- Click on the following link: http://envr.abtassoc.com/mercury/EPAMercuryDatabase.zip.
- When you see the pop-up message ("Do you want to open or save this file?"), click on "Save." Save the ZIP file to a location on your computer.
- Open the file. The file should open with your computer's ZIP software.
- Choose the "Extract" function in your ZIP software to save the application files to a location on your computer. This may take a couple of minutes.
- Go to the location you chose when extracting the database files from the ZIP file. Under the folder "EPA Mercury Containing Products Database" there should be a file named "home.html". Open this file to access the database.
To access the most up-to-date version: EPA updates this database annually, and you will need to again download either the Windows or HTML version.
- For the Windows version, you must first delete any existing version of the database on your computer, along with the desktop icon. After erasing the older version, follow the steps above to download the latest updated version.
- For the HTML version, it is not necessary to delete the older versions.
Database Sources of Information on Mercury Products
The primary source of information on mercury-containing products is the "Mercury-added Products Database," which is maintained by the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC), a program of the Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA). The IMERC products database contains data submitted by manufacturers and distributors on mercury-added products sold in states that require such reporting. As of 2008, there are eight states that have enacted these requirements: Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Regulations in these states require manufacturers or distributors to submit data on the national mercury use in their products, and to provide data updates every three years, starting in 2001.
EPA supplements the information from the IMERC Mercury-added Products Database with publicly-available information on non-mercury alternatives, and information on additional mercury-containing products that are not sold in some of the eight states that provide data to IMERC due to legal restrictions in those states.
Database Sources of Information on Non-Mercury Alternatives
EPA uses publicly-available information sources, including industry associations, non-governmental organizations, numerous Web sites, and published reports. Primary information sources for the database include the following Web sites and documents:
- Sustainable Hospitals Project
- National Wildlife Federation (NWF): Mercury Products Guide: The Hidden Dangers of Mercury (2002) (PDF) (51 pp, 948K)
- Lowell Center for Sustainable Production: An Investigation of Alternatives to Mercury Containing Products (2003) (PDF) (85 pp, 403K)
How to Send New Information and Comments to EPA
EPA will update this database annually to include any new information available on mercury containing-products and alternatives. We welcome submission of new information, updates and corrections at any time. Submission of information can be made via e-mail by filling in the blocks below.
EPA is also interested in receiving comments on the usefulness and ease of use of this database. While we cannot offer individual home computer technical assistance, we are interested in hearing about any technical difficulties you might encounter in attempting to view or download the database.
You can also provide new information or comments by telephone or mail.
Comment by telephone or mail
US Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
Economics, Exposure and Technology Division
Mail Code 7406-M
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20460