State law requires auto recyclers to remove mercury switches from vehicles before the vehicles are crushed or flattened. Arkansas
automotive recyclers and salvagers participate in a mercury switch collection program. Participants remove and collect mercury switches according
to hazardous waste regulations and receive payment to offset removal costs.
DEQ's Solid Waste Management administers the state collection program, which was developed by End of Life Vehicle Solutions Corporation (ELVS).
ELVS was created by the automotive industry in response to federal and state law passed to reduce mercury releases into the environment.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water, and soil. It has been used to make products like thermometers, switches, and
some light bulbs. Mercury switches were used in a variety of vehicles until model year 2003. When switches are flattened or crushed with scrap vehicles,
mercury escapes into the air and ends up in waterways. The most common way people are exposed to mercury is by eating contaminated fish or shellfish. Mercury
exposure can affect the human nervous system, organs, and immune system. The Arkansas Department of Health issues
fish consumption notices about waterways with high levels of mercury.
ELVS develops the annual Manufacturers' Implementation Report, which contains the mercury minimization plan and the design plan, both required by state law.