Substance Flow Analysis of Mercury Intentionally Used in Products in the United States

Mercury-containing products release mercury (Hg) throughout their lifecycles, frequently in ways that are difficult to measure directly. Therefore, there are considerable uncertainties about the magnitude of mercury releases associated with products, about which products and which release pathways contribute the most to mercury releases, and about the likely impact on mercury releases of various possible interventions in the mercury content of products or in the management of mercury-containing wastes. This article presents an effort to use substance flow analysis to develop improved estimates of the environmental releases caused by mercury-containing products and to provide policy-makers with a better understanding of opportunities for reducing releases of mercury caused by products.