Bowling Green State University program helps people, institutions get rid of mercury

BOWLING GREEN - In the last 10 years, David Heinlen and his co-workers have collected more than 11 tons of mercury.

That's 11 Volkswagen Beetles, 22 standard-sized refrigerators, or 4,500 Apple MacBooks.

Mr. Heinlen, director of Bowling Green State University's Elemental Mercury Collection and Reclamation Program, has spent the past decade of his life accumulating thermometers, dental fillings, blood pressure cuffs, thermostats, barometers - whatever contains the faintest drop of that silvery toxin.

"I work with anyone who wants to give me anything," Mr. Heinlen said.

The program was founded in 1998, several years after a staff geologist at the university saw mercury dripping through the ceiling of his laboratory while the floors above him were being renovated.

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