Bill Would Ban Mercury Thermometers

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(Host) The Environment Committee chaired by Vermont Senator James Jeffords has unanimously approved a bill to phase out mercury thermometers.

Mercury is a potent poison that affects the nervous system. The bill calls for the thermometers to be phased out within 180 days of the bill’s passage and to be available only with a doctor’s prescription. The bill also sets up a national thermometer collection program.

Michael Bender directs the Mercury Policy Project in Montpelier. He says 10 states have passed similar bans, but not Vermont.

(Bender) “It’s a little bit ironic that, although Vermont has been viewed as one of the leaders on the environment, that ten other states and now a very conservative group of U.S. senators have passed this mercury fever thermometer ban and we still can’t get our Legislature to pass it.”

(Host) Bender says that 41 states, including Vermont, have health advisories warning the public to limit fish consumption due to mercury pollution. The thermometer bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

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