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Frequent Questions about EPA's Mercury Inventory Reporting Rule

The following frequent questions address concerns submitters and the public may raise regarding reporting requirements for EPA’s inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade. Reporting is required by Section 8(b)(10)(D) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the mercury inventory reporting rule.  This collection of information is approved under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. (OMB Control No. 2070-0207).

  1. What is EPA’s mercury inventory?
  2. What is the “mercury inventory reporting rule?”
  3. Who must report their mercury information to EPA?
  4. Who is exempt from reporting to EPA?
  5. Must I still report if my company only uses a very small amount of mercury?
  6. How do I figure out whether I need to report to EPA?
  7. What information must companies, organizations, or individuals report to EPA?
  8. When do I need to report to EPA?
  9. How do I report?
  10. What if the information I submit is confidential business information (CBI)?
  11. Will the information provided to the Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) application be publicly accessible?
  12. Should research and development activities be reported under the rule?
  13. Should reporting occur at a company-wide level, or at the facility level?
  14. At what point is a product considered imported during a reporting year?
  15. I report mercury information under EPA’s Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule; am I exempt from reporting to EPA’s mercury inventory?
  16. I report to the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC) Mercury-Added Products Database; am I exempt from reporting to EPA’s mercury inventory?
  17. What if the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC) reporting tool is not yet available?
  18. Does the amount in pounds of mercury compounds pertain to the weight of the mercury compound or the weight of elemental mercury within the compound?
  19. Can a foreign supplier of mercury or mercury-added products report on behalf of the U.S. importer?
  20. Does “stored” mercury include finished products in a company warehouse or distribution center?
  21. Where can I get technical assistance with reporting?
  22. Where can I find explanations of key terms for the mercury inventory rule?

1. What is EPA’s mercury inventory?

TSCA requires EPA to publish an inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade every three years, and defines the term “mercury” to mean elemental mercury and a mercury compound. Based on the information collected for the inventory, the Agency is directed to identify any manufacturing processes or products that intentionally add mercury. EPA is also directed to recommend actions, including proposed revisions of federal law or regulations, to achieve further reductions in mercury use.  Read the TSCA section on mercury inventory reporting requirements.

EPA published the first inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade on March 29, 2017. The second inventory, expected on or before April 1, 2020, will be the first mercury inventory based on information reported under EPA’s final mercury inventory reporting rule.

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2. What is the “mercury inventory reporting rule?”

As directed by TSCA, the mercury inventory reporting rule establishes requirements for reporting on the supply, use, and trade of mercury in the United States, in support of EPA’s triennial inventories. EPA published the final rule on June 27, 2018.   Read the final rule.

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3. Who must report their mercury information to EPA?

TSCA requires reporting by “any person” who manufactures or imports mercury or mercury-added products or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process (read the section of TSCA on mercury inventory reporting requirements). These manufacturers and importers can be companies, organizations, or individuals.

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4. Who is exempt from reporting to EPA?

You do not need to report if:

  • Your mercury activity is not for an immediate or eventual commercial advantage;
  • You manufacture or import mercury only as an impurity;
  • You are engaged only in the generation, handling, or management of mercury-containing waste, unless you recover mercury to place in commerce;
  • The only mercury you import is in assembled products that contain a component that is a mercury-added product (an example of such an assembled product is a car containing a mercury-added light bulb); or
  • You manufacture assembled products in the U.S. that contain a component that is a mercury-added product, but you did not first manufacture or import the component that is a mercury-added product.

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5. Must I still report if my company only uses a very small amount of mercury?

You must report your mercury to EPA no matter how small the amount of mercury you manufacture, import, or use. There is no “de minimis” amount or reporting threshold.

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6. How do I figure out whether I need to report to EPA?

Read the EPA compliance guide for help determining if you must report and find resources on mercury reporting requirements.

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7. What information must companies, organizations, or individuals report to EPA?

There are different requirements for different types of commercial activity and for companies, organizations, or individuals that report mercury data to EPA’s Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) or to the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC). In general, the data to report are:

  • Amount of mercury manufactured, imported, stored, used, sold, or exported;
  • Types of products made;
  • Types of manufacturing processes and how mercury is used;
  • Business sectors to which mercury or mercury-added products are sold;
  • Country of origin of imported mercury or mercury-added products; and
  • Destination country for exported mercury or mercury-added products.

For more information on what to report, see additional resources on mercury reporting requirements.

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8. When do I need to report to EPA?

By July 1, 2019 for mercury activities that occurred in the calendar year 2018, and every three years thereafter.

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9. How do I report?

You must report online by entering information using the Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) application. The MER application can be accessed through the Agency's Central Data Exchange (CDX).  Most of the reporting involves entering a number, checking a box, or selecting an item from a drop-down menu. You must have an account with CDX.

Read the CDX user guide for more information.

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10. What if the information I submit is confidential busniess information (CBI)?

You must still report the information, but you can claim it as TSCA Confidential Business Information (CBI), which EPA protects. CBI is broadly defined as proprietary information, considered confidential to the submitter, the release of which would cause substantial business injury to the owner. The MER application is designed to allow you to claim some or all data as CBI by checking a box. However, some types of information claimed as CBI must be substantiated at the time you submit it to EPA. At the end of the reporting process, after confirming that you are the submitter, the application will require you to attach a substantiation document or opt out of substantiating your CBI claims (if all selected data elements do not need to be substantiated). After attaching the substantiation or opting-out, the application will then proceed to validate the entire submission, generate PDF copy, and proceed through the remaining submission process. This process is explained within the CBI substantiation page of the MER application.  Read more about CBI claims under TSCA.

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11. Will the information provided to the Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) application be publicly accessible?

EPA will aggregate the data it receives from all submitters for the triennially published inventories. For example, the inventories will report total amounts of mercury manufactured by adding together the quantities from all submissions. The Agency will not publish names or other identifying information of submitters. In addition, the database containing submitters’ information is not designed for public access. However, any information not determined to be TSCA Confidential Business Information or otherwise not protected from disclosure by exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act could be subject to a public request for federal agency records.  Read more about EPA’s Freedom of Information Act process.

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12. Should research and development activities be reported under the rule?

Yes. If a company, organization, or individual conducts research and development activities associated with ongoing or intended manufacturing of mercury or mercury-added products or otherwise intentional use of mercury in a manufacturing process, then the amount of mercury used in research and development activities must be reported. Where research and development activities are associated with ongoing manufacture, then the combined total amount of mercury used must be reported. Reporters have the option to demarcate amounts of mercury used in research and development activities via data fields in the MER application that allow a user to provide explanatory notes.

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13. Should reporting occur at a company-wide level, or at the facility level?

In general, the Agency envisions reporting at a company-wide level. EPA would expect a company to report for its various subdivisions and facilities. At the same time, the reporting requirements are designed to allow for flexibility in responding. As an example, a company with multiple, diverse subdivisions that use mercury in various capacities could elect to submit individual reports per subdivision or submit a single, unified report. The MER application allows a reporter to provide explanatory notes (e.g., describing how the report(s) apply to various company configurations), should it be advantageous.

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14. At what point is a product considered imported during a reporting year?

The definition of “manufacture” at TSCA section 3(9) (15 U.S.C. 2602(9)), includes “import into the customs territory of the United States (as defined in general note 2 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States).” For reporting purposes, this means physically entering the customs territory of the United States during a reporting year.

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15. I report mercury information under EPA’s Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) rule; am I exempt from reporting to EPA’s mercury inventory?

No. Reporting to CDR does not exempt you from reporting to the mercury inventory. If you report to CDR as a manufacturer or importer of mercury, you do not need to provide information to MER that EPA considers duplicative of CDR data, which are the amounts of mercury you manufacture, import, or export as applicable. However, mercury manufacturers or importers who report to CDR are still subject to all other mercury inventory reporting requirements outlined in 40 CFR 713.9(a), 713.11(a), and 713.13(a).

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16. I report to the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC) Mercury-Added Products Database; am I exempt from reporting to EPA’s mercury inventory?

No. Reporting to IMERC does not exempt you from reporting to the mercury inventory. If you report to IMERC as a manufacturer or importer of mercury-added products, you do not need to report to EPA the amount of mercury you domestically distribute, which the Agency considers to be duplicative of your notification to IMERC of the amount of mercury used in product lines sold in the United States. However, mercury-added product manufacturers or importers who report to IMERC are still subject to all other mercury inventory reporting requirements outlined in 40 CFR 713.9(c), 713.11(b), and 713.13(c).

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17. What if the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC) reporting tool is not yet available?

If you intend to provide information to IMERC for the 2018 reporting year, check the box in the MER application to indicate: “My company reported national sales data to the most recent Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC) reporting cycle.”

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18. Does the amount in pounds of mercury compounds pertain to the weight of the mercury compound or the weight of elemental mercury within the compound?

The amount of mercury compounds is the total weight of the combined chemical substances, not just the elemental mercury.

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19. Can a foreign supplier of mercury or mercury-added products report on behalf of the U.S. importer?

No. The MER application does not allow foreign entities to directly provide information to EPA. However, the reporting company may assign a support role (for example, to a corporate on-site contact, a technical contact, a paid employee of the company, an outside consultant for the company, or an authorized representative agent for the company) within the United States to assist the company in completing the online form within the MER application.

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20. Does “stored” mercury include finished products in a company warehouse or distribution center?

No. The emphasis of reporting requirements for stored mercury is on raw materials (e.g., elemental mercury and mercury compounds). As such, the reporting requirements do not apply to quantities of mercury within mercury-added products that are stored after manufacture and prior to distribution in commerce.

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21. How can I get technical assistance with reporting?

For more resources on reporting requirements, visit:

For questions concerning CDX or TSCA, contact:

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22. Where can I find explanations of key terms for the mercury inventory rule?

Explanations of key terms for the mercury inventory can be found in the Compliance Guide: Reporting Requirements for the Mercury Inventory of the Toxic Substances Control Act.