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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure buildup; and a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Donald Trump is formally put up for GOP nomination and picks Ohio Senator J.D. Vance as his running mate. Former presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy and swing state delegates consider ticket.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Mercury Thermostat Collection Programs Failing in Texas, U.S.

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Friday, April 5, 2013   

AUSTIN, Texas – Voluntary efforts to keep mercury thermostats out of the trash in Texas and nationwide are failing, according to a new analysis called Turning Up The Heat.

Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project, says the programs run by manufacturers have captured only a small portion of the thermostats that have come out of service over the past decade.

"We estimate that nationally that only about 8 percent of the available mercury thermostats are being collected,” he says, “and as a result of that about 50 tons of mercury got into the environment that could've been collected."

Mercury and most its compounds are extremely toxic, and exposure can lead to a variety of physical, cognitive, and behavioral problems.

While there has been a four-fold increase in the rate of mercury thermostats turned-in in Texas, Bender says the actual numbers are small.

"What they don't mention,” he says, “is the Texas program collected less than 5,000 thermostats in total for 2011 compared to, for instance, the state of Maine, where they collected over 6,000 thermostats in the same year with a population 20 times smaller."

To improve the rate, Bender says there should be a ban on discarding mercury thermostats in the trash. In addition, he says incentives have been shown to work in some states, such as offering $5 for each one that's turned in.

"It's mainly directed at heating and ventilation and air conditioning contractors, and what we're trying to do is convince them that it's worth a little extra time to bring those in."

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 2 to 3 million thermostats come out of service annually. Each contains an average of 4 grams of mercury.









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