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U.S. Battery Act

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Title: Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act

1. Issued by / date / date of implementation

USA Congress / 13.05.1996 / in force as of 13.05.1996

2. Type of legislation

Public law with binding character in the USA.

3. General purpose

The purpose of the Act is to phase out the use of mercury-containing batteries and provide for the recycling of nickel cadmium, small sealed lead-acid batteries, and certain others.

4. Substitution relevant paragraphs

The Title II of the Act, known as the ”Mercury-Containing Battery Management Act” has the purpose to phase out the use of batteries containing mercury. Section 203 states that no person shall sell, offer for sale, or for promotional purposes any alkaline-manganese battery manufactured on or after the date of enactment of the Act, with a mercury content that was intentionally introduced (as distinguished from mercury that may be incidentally present in other materials), except that the limitation on mercury content in alkaline-manganese button cells shall be 25 milligrams of mercury per button cell.

The types of batteries that fall under the Title II are:

  • any alkaline-manganese battery, with a mercury content that was intentionally introduced except that the limitation on mercury content in alkaline-manganese button cells shall be 25 milligrams of mercury per button cell
  • any zinc- carbon battery, that contains mercury which was intentionally introduced
  • any button cell for use in the United States
  • any other mercuric-oxide battery ( except for the button cell) unless the manufacturer or importer of such batteries takes appropriate measures to identify an authorized collection site for recycling or proper disposal and to inform all purchasers of that collection site.

5. Assessment of relevance for substitution

The US Battery act does not have any specific reference to substitution, which was a less popular preventive solution in the mid nineties, when the Act was published, than it is now. Nonetheless, the provisions regarding the phase out of batteries containing hazardous mercury compounds may initiate measures to find safer alternatives for a much used source of energy of our days.

6. Link to the legal text (English)

English version: archived copy or original document

7. Further information

7.1 Studies or publications about the legislation or its impact

The brochure Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act, 1997 can be found here: archived copy or original document

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