Skip to main content

California Code, Health and Safety Code - HSC § 25214.8.1

Welcome to FindLaw's Cases & Codes, a free source of state and federal court opinions, state laws, and the United States Code. For more information about the legal concepts addressed by these cases and statutes, visit FindLaw's Learn About the Law.

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(1) Once mercury is released into the environment it can change to methyl mercury, a highly toxic compound. Methyl mercury is easily taken up in living tissue and bioaccumulates over time, causing serious health effects, including neurological and reproductive disorders in humans and wildlife. Since mercury does not break down in the environment, it has become a significant health threat to humans and wildlife.

(2) Due to the bioaccumulation of mercury and other contaminants in fish, the California Environmental Protection Agency has issued a warning advising that adults and women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should limit their fish intake from several state waterways.

(3) Increasingly stringent mercury discharge limits for wastewater treatment plants make the identification and elimination of unnecessary sources of mercury a critical task, because the cost of mercury removal at a wastewater treatment plant is far greater than the societal benefits of continuing use of mercury-containing products, as currently formulated.

(4) Thermostats and other switches and relays are among the largest remaining sources of mercury in consumer products that can be legally sold in California.

(5) Most thermostats contain 3,000 milligrams of mercury and have a 35-year lifespan.

(6) Many other mercury-containing switches hold up to 4 grams of mercury, and mercury-containing relays hold as much as 153 grams.

(7) Esophageal dilators contain as much as two pounds of mercury.

(8) Mercury thermostats, switches, relays, measuring devices, esophageal dilators, and gastrointestinal tubes are hazardous waste when discarded, and on and after January 1, 2006, all mercury thermostat, switch, relay, measuring device, esophageal dilator, and gastrointestinal tube wastes will be prohibited from disposal in a solid waste landfill under the regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter.

(9) Economical alternatives to mercury thermostats, relays, switches, measuring devices, esophageal dilators, and gastrointestinal tubes are available for commercial and, when applicable, residential applications.

(b) For purposes of this article the following definitions shall apply:

(1) “Mercury-added product” means any product or device that contains mercury.

(2) “Mercury-added thermostat” means a product or device that uses a mercury switch to sense and control room temperature through communication with heating, ventilating, or air-conditioning equipment. A mercury-added thermostat includes thermostats used to sense and control room temperature in residential, commercial, industrial, and other buildings but does not include a thermostat used to sense and control temperature as part of a manufacturing process.

(3) “Mercury relay” means a mercury-added product or device that opens or closes electrical contacts to effect the operation of other devices in the same or another electrical circuit. “Mercury relay” includes, but is not limited to, mercury displacement relays, mercury wetted reed relays, and mercury contact relays.

(4) “Mercury switch” means a mercury-added product or device that opens or closes an electrical circuit or gas valve.

(A) A mercury switch includes, but is not limited to, mercury float switches actuated by rising or falling liquid levels, mercury tilt switches actuated by a change in the switch position, mercury pressure switches actuated by a change in pressure, mercury temperature switches actuated by a change in temperature, and mercury flame sensors.

(B) A mercury switch does not include a mercury-added thermostat or a mercury diostat.

(C) “Mercury diostat” means a mercury switch that controls a gas valve in an oven or oven portion of a gas range.

Neither a public entity, nor a public employee acting in the scope of his employment, is liable for any injury resulting from the condition of fire protection or firefighting equipment or facilities or, except as provided in Article 1 (commencing with Section 17000) of Chapter 1 of Division 9 of the Vehicle Code, for any injury caused in fighting fires.

Cite this article: - California Code, Health and Safety Code - HSC § 25214.8.1 - last updated January 01, 2019 |

FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.

Copied to clipboard