TITLE 23
Health and Safety

CHAPTER 23-24.9
Mercury Reduction and Education Act

SECTION 23-24.9-7


§ 23-24.9-7 Phase-out and exemptions.

(a) No mercury-added product shall be offered for final sale or use or distributed for promotional purposes in Rhode Island if the mercury content of the product exceeds:

(1) One gram (1000 milligrams) for mercury-added fabricated products or two hundred fifty (250) parts per million (ppm) for mercury-added formulated products, effective January 1, 2006;

(2) One hundred (100) milligrams for mercury-added fabricated products or fifty (50) parts per million (ppm) for mercury-added formulated products, effective July 1, 2007; and

(3) Ten (10) milligrams for mercury-added fabricated products or ten (10) parts per million (ppm) for mercury-added formulated products, effective July 1, 2009.

(b) For a product that contains one or more mercury-added products as a component, this section is applicable to each component part or parts and not to the entire product. For example, if an iron has a mercury switch, the phase-out applies to the switch and not the entire iron.

(c) For a product that contains more than one mercury-added product as a component, the phase-out limits specified in subsection (a) of this section apply to each component and not the sum of the mercury in all of the components. For example, for a car that contains mercury-added switches and lighting, the phase-out limits would apply to each component separately, and not the combined total of mercury in all of the components.

(d)(1) Fluorescent lamps, cold cathode low pressure mercury discharge lamps/neon lamps and high intensity discharge (HID) lamps, including metal halide, high pressure sodium, and mercury vapor types, shall be exempt from the requirements of subsection (a) of this section. As of January 1, 2010, the mercury content of fluorescent bulbs, cold cathode low pressure mercury discharge lamps/neon lamps shall either not exceed one hundred (100) milligrams or the manufacturer shall comply with the exemption requirements pursuant to subsection (f) of this section. The department may issue rules requiring more stringent mercury content limits for such bulbs or tubes, consistent with limits issued by other states and the European Union.

(2) Specialized lighting used in the entertainment industry, such as metal halide lights, shall be exempted from the requirements of § 23-24.9-7(a).

(3) Mercury added button cell batteries and products containing mercury added button cell batteries shall be exempted from the phase-out limits specified in subsection 23-24.9-7(a).

(e) A mercury-added product shall be exempt from the limits on total mercury content set forth in subsection (f) of this section if the level of mercury or mercury compounds contained in the product are required in order to comply with federal or state health or safety requirements. In order to claim exemption under this section, the manufacturer must notify the department, in writing, and provide the legal justification for the claim of exemption. In addition, laboratory chemical standards shall be exempted from the requirements of subsection (a) of this section.

(f) Manufacturers of a mercury-added product may apply to the director for an exemption for no more than five (5) years from the limits on total mercury content set forth in subsection (a) of this section for a product or category of products. Applications for exemptions must: (1) document the basis for the requested exemption or renewal of exemption; (2) describe how the manufacturer will ensure that a system exists for the proper collection, transportation and processing of the product(s) at the end of their useful life; and (3) document the readiness of all necessary parties to perform as intended in the planned system.

(g) The director may grant, with modifications or conditions, an exemption for a product or category of products if he or she finds: (i) a system exists for the proper collection, transportation and processing of the mercury-added product, including direct return of a waste product to the manufacturer, an industry or trade group supported collection and recycling system, or other similar private or public sector efforts; and (ii) he or she finds the following criteria are met:

(1) Use of the product is beneficial to the environment or protective of public health or protective of public safety; and/or

(2) There is no technically feasible alternative to the use of mercury in the product; and

(3) There is no comparable non-mercury-added product available at reasonable cost.

Prior to issuing an exemption, the director shall consult with neighboring states and provinces and regional organizations to promote consistency. The state shall avoid, to the extent feasible, inconsistencies in the implementation of this section. Upon reapplication by the manufacturer and findings by the director of continued eligibility under the criteria of this subsection and of compliance by the manufacturer with the conditions of the director's original approval, an exemption may be renewed one or more times and each renewal may be for a period of no longer than five (5) years.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2001, ch. 234, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 318, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 235, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 328, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 266, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 268, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 387, § 1; P.L. 2010, ch. 306, § 1.)