Prohibits the use, purchase and storage of mercury and mercury instruments in schools; mercury instruments may continue to be used if no reasonably acceptable mercury-free alternative is available, so long as the mercury instrument used has the lowest mercury content available; directs the commissioner of health to compile, produce and distribute material advising schools of the hazards of elemental mercury and how to reduce such hazards.
BILL NUMBER: S777
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the education law, in relation to prohibiting the use, purchase and storage of elemental mercury by schools; and to amend the public health law, in relation to directing the commissioner of health to compile and distribute materials for schools on the hazards of elemental mercury and actions which may be taken to reduce such hazards
PURPOSE OF BILL : The bill establishes requirements for the use, purchase, storage and disposal of mercury and mercury instruments in schools.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : The bill prohibits schools from purchasing, using or storing any quantity of free-flowing mercury or any instrument which contains mercury, including thermometers, barometers, sphygmomanometers and manometers. If there are no reasonably acceptable mercury-free alternatives, schools may use instruments which contain the lowest mercury content readily available. Regulations would be required for schools to dispose of or recycle mercury. The Health Commissioner is required to provide educational materials explaining the hazards of mercury and actions that can be taken to reduce such hazards.
JUSTIFICATION : Mercury is a metal that can damage the nervous system and kidneys in high levels. Short-term exposure to high levels can cause shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other problems. Exposure to mercury can occur by inhalation, skin absorption and ingestion. Children are particularly vulnerable because their nervous systems are still developing. According to the Department of Health, health effects in children might include brain damage and behavioral and developmental problems. This bill is intended to reduce or eliminate children's exposure to mercury in schools.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : 2007-2008- Education
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None.
EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect immediately, except that section one of this act shall take effect on the first of July next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 777 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 15, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sen. ALESI -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to prohibiting the use, purchase and storage of elemental mercury by schools; and to amend the public health law, in relation to directing the commissioner of health to compile and distribute materials for schools on the hazards of elemental mercury and actions which may be taken to reduce such hazards THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 409-j to read as follows: S 409-J. ELIMINATION OF THE USE OF ELEMENTAL MERCURY. 1. EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION, NO PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SCHOOL OR EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION IN THIS STATE SHALL PURCHASE, USE OR STORE ANY QUANTITY OF FREE FLOWING ELEMENTAL MERCURY FOR ANY PURPOSE, NOR PURCHASE, USE OR STORE ANY INSTRUMENT WHICH CONTAINS MERCU- RY INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THERMOMETERS, BAROMETERS, SPHYGMOMA- NOMETERS AND MANOMETERS. 2. IF NO REASONABLY ACCEPTABLE, MERCURY-FREE ALTERNATIVE EXISTS FOR ANY INSTRUMENT PROHIBITED BY SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, A SCHOOL OR EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION MAY USE SUCH TYPE OF INSTRUMENT WHICH CONTAINS THE LOWEST MERCURY CONTENT READILY AVAILABLE ON THE MARKET. 3. THE COMMISSIONER, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE COMMISSIONER OF ENVIRON- MENTAL CONSERVATION, SHALL PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS REQUIRING PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN THIS STATE TO DISPOSE OF OR RECYCLE ANY QUANTITY OF ELEMENTAL MERCURY AND INSTRUMENTS CONTAINING MERCURY IN A MANNER WHICH IS LEAST HARMFUL TO THE ENVIRON- MENT. S 2. Section 206 of the public health law is amended by adding a new subdivision 26 to read as follows:EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03466-01-9 S. 777 2
26. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL COMPILE, PRODUCE AND DISTRIBUTE TO ALL PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND EDUCATIONAL SCHOOLS IN THIS STATE, MATE- RIALS EXPLAINING THE HAZARDS CREATED BY ELEMENTAL MERCURY AND ACTIONS THAT MAY BE TAKEN TO REDUCE SUCH HAZARDS. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately, except that section one of this act shall take effect on the first of July next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.