Mercury Pollution – Ban on Mercury Thermometers – Duluth, MN

Date: 12 Jan 2009 | posted in: environment | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

On March 6, 2000, the city of Duluth adopted the nation’s first-ever ban on the sale of mercury fever and basal (used by women)thermometers. The purpose of this ordinance is to help eliminate mercury from the waste stream.

An earlier Minnesota law (M.S. Section 116.92, subd. 7) prohibits medical facilities from routinely distributing mercury thermometers. Another state law (M.S. Section 115A.932) prohibits depositing them in solid waste.

More Information:


Full Text of Duluth Code Chapter 28, Article VI: Mercury

Sec. 28-61. Sale and purchase of various mercury containing devices prohibited.

Unless otherwise provided by state or federal law:

(a)No person shall sell at retail or offer for sale at retail within the city any fever thermometer or basal thermometer containing mercury;

(b)No public or private school in Duluth offering kindergarten, elementary, junior high school or high school classes shall purchase bulk elemental mercury or mercury compounds for use in classrooms;

(c)For purposes of this paragraph, the words “mercury sphygmomanometer”means a mercury containing device used to measure blood pressure. No person shall sell, purchase, install or reinstall a mercury sphygmomanometer within the city;

(d) For the purposes of this paragraph the words “gastrointestinal devices” means a mercury containing device passed into the gastrointestinal tract commonly referred to as a Miller Abbott tube, cantor tube or bougie or as feeding tubes. Gastrointestinal devices may not be sold or purchased within the city;

(e) For the purposes of this paragraph, the word “thermostat” means a device commonly used to sense and, through electrical communication with heating, cooling or ventilation equipment, control room temperature. No person shall sell or install in a commercial or residential building in the city any thermostat that contains mercury;

(f) For the purposes of this paragraph, the word “barometer” means a device used to measure atmospheric pressure. No person shall sell or purchase a barometer which contains mercury within the city unless such sale or purchase is required by federal regulations;

(g) For the purposes of this paragraph, the word “psychrometer” means a device used to measure relative humidity. No person shall sell or purchase a psychrometer which contains mercury within the city unless such sale or purchase is required by federal regulations. (Ord. No. 9441, 3-6-2000, §1; Ord. No. 9561, 9-23-2002, §1.)