Mercury Thermometer Exchange

The city is now giving out free digital fever thermometers in exchange for old mercury ones, in order to encourage residents to upgrade and also to not throw the toxic material into the trash.

Starting this week and running through the end of October, the city of South San Francisco is accepting broken or unwanted mercury thermometers in exchange for new digital thermometers, free of charge.

Since 2001, California law has limited the sale and distribution of products containing mercury, and mercury fever thermometers since 2002, because mercury is toxic and can be dangerous to human health.

According to the city's website, "mercury can cause damage to the nervous system, brain, kidneys, liver and immune systems. Throwing mercury thermometers in the trash is no longer allowed because mercury from broken devices can vaporize into the air."

A mercury thermometer can be identified by its silver bulb at the bottom. If the bulb is red, blue, or another color, it does not contain mercury.

If you do have a mercury thermometer, you can exchange your device at the Public Works Corp Yard, 550 North Canal St., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Oct. 31.

The program is sponsored by the Bay Area Pollution Prevention Group of the Bay Area Clean Water Agencies group.

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