1  Million Switches
Reaches Millionth
Switch  Milestone

The National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program
(NVMSRP) has collected the millionth mercury-containing
automotive switch. This milestone highlights how the
NVMSRP partnership is making progress toward reducing
the amount of toxic mercury released into the air, water
and land. The goal of the NVMSRP is to capture 80 to 90
percent of available vehicle mercury switches by 2017,
when the program is scheduled to end.
Vehicles are the most recycled consumer goods in
America. Each year, the steel industry recycles more
than 14 million tons of steel from retired vehicles, the
equivalent of nearly 13.5 million new automobiles. As
a result, the steel industry is the largest consumer of
recycled materials in  the world. Most vehicles that have
reached the end of their useful life are dismantled,
stripped, flattened, shredded and melted to make new
steel. If mercury switches are not removed from retired
vehicles by dismantlers, a significant amount of that
mercury can be released into the environment through air

EPA estimates that about 8 tons per year of mercury is
emitted from electric arc furnaces that melt scrap metal
from retired cars, making them the fourth largest source
of mercury air emissions. The total amount of mercury
currently emitted annually in the U.S. is estimated to
be 120 tons per year. Air emissions are considered the
primary source of mercury that ultimately concentrates
in fish as methylmercury and poses risks to human
health and the environment through fish consumption.

Some vehicles manufactured prior to 2003 contain
mercury switches. Recovering these switches is an
easy, cost effective and energy efficient way to reduce
mercury air emissions. Dismantlers can find and remove
most switches within a few minutes. It costs far less
per pound of mercury than emission controls and it
supports many industries that produce and use scrap
metal. Finally, it conserves energy and  natural resources
by promoting automotive steel recycling while reducing
mercury contamination.

NVMSRP provides dismantlers, who remove the
switches, with education, supplies, no-cost shipping and
recycling, and incentives for automobile dismantlers and
scrap recyclers to remove mercury-containing switches
from scrap vehicles before they are shredded and
used to make new steel. It's very easy for automobile
dismantlers and scrap recyclers to join the NVMSRP.
All they have to do is contact the End of Life Vehicle
Solutions Corporation (ELVS), a company formed by the
automotive industry, and ask to join the NVMSRP. There
is no cost to participate in the program. ELVS can be
reached on the worldwide web at www.elvsolutions.org/
contact.html or by calling, toll free, (877) 225-ELVS.

The following organizations and industry sectors are
working together in this effort to encourage the recovery
of mercury switches:

End of Life Vehicle Solutions Corporation (ELVS),
a non-profit established by thirteen automakers,
provide dismantlers with information and supplies
needed to remove, collect and transport switches
to proper recycling and disposal facilities, and track
program progress.

Dismantlers remove mercury-containing switches and
ship them to ELVS, giving them the ability to sell reduced-
mercury scrap and earn  recognition and certain financial

Scrap recyclers build awareness of the mercury
switch removal program  in their own industry and in the
dismantling industry, which is their chief supplier of scrap

Steel makers educate and encourage their supply
chain to participate,  as well as purchase scrap metal
generated from participating dismantlers and recyclers
that have removed the mercury-containing switches.

Environmental groups and the Environmental
Council of the States (ECOS) publicly endorse
the program; support outreach  education to increase
participation in the states; and, participate in the
development and  improvement of data collection efforts.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) helps implement the program and, in December
2007, included  the NVMSRP as a compliance option
for regulating mercury emissions from steelmaking in
electric arc furnaces and iron and steel foundries under
the Clean Air Act.

NVMSRP is one of several actions EPA is taking to
reduce emissions from mercury-containing switches.
Other actions include:

EPA issues rules to  reduce mercury releases
from steel manufacturing facilities and for iron
and steel foundries  area sources—In December
2007 EPA issued  new air emissions standards that will
reduce mercury releases from steel manufacturers using
electric arc furnaces and from certain iron and steel
foundries. Under these rules, steel manufacturers using
automotive scrap  must demonstrate that they accept
automobile scrap  only from dismantlers and scrap
recyclers that remove all available mercury switches.
This is quicker and more cost effective way to control
mercury emissions than adding mercury removal
technologies to furnaces.

Significant New Use Rule for Elemental
Mercury - In October 2007, EPA issued a final
Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) that requires
notification to EPA 90 days prior to U.S. manufacture,
import, or processing of elemental mercury for use in
convenience light switches, anti-lock brake system
switches, and active ride control system switches
in certain motor vehicles. The rule gives EPA the
opportunity to evaluate the risks of using elemental
mercury and to prohibit or limit its use.

American  Iron and Steel Institute

Automotive Recyclers Association

Ecology Center

End of Life Vehicles Solutions Corporation

Environmental Council of the States

Environmental Defense

Environmental Protection Agency

Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

Steel Manufacturers Association

For more information on the NVMSRP and for regularly
updated mercury switch collection data, please visit
www.epa.gov/mercurv or www.elvsolutions.org.