(NRCM Press Release 5/29/03)
Maine Governor John Baldacci has signed three bills to protect public health and the environment from mercury and lead pollution. The three bills signed by the Governor include: LD 697, an Act to Require the Installation of Dental Amalgam Separator Systems in Dental Offices, that will remove 98% of the mercury in wastewater discharges that results from dental work on mercury fillings; LD 743, an Act to Develop a Plan for Cathode Ray Tube (CRTs) Disposal, that bans the disposal of CRTs from computer monitors and televisions in landfills and incinerators by January 1, 2006 and that requires a plan by January 30, 2004 to collect and recycle CRTs; and LD 1159, an Act to Reduce Mercury Use in Measuring Devices and Switches, that bans the sale of many mercury-containing products, such as mercury fever thermometers and residential mercury thermostats, by July 1, 2006 and requires a plan to improve collection and recycling of old mercury thermostats. Maine is one of the first four states in the country to require dentists to install separators to reduce mercury discharges into the sewer systems that empty into rivers and bays. The disposal of CRTs, which each contain four to eight pounds of lead, poses environmental health hazards. "Reducing mercury and lead in the environment will help prevent learning disabilities in our children," said Sandra Cort, immediate past president of the Learning Disabilities Association of Maine.