Mercury Removal Initiative

    In 2006, ASTM president James Thomas received letters from State administrations petitioning the reevaluation of standards that include the instrumentation and reference to mercury. ASTM technical committee E20 on Temperature Measurement has created a task group to provide guidance to the committees affected by this initiative. In addition, ASTM staff has been in communication with other organizations as a resource for information on the industries approach to the removal of mercury.

    Last February 2008, ASTM met in conjunction with the EPA, NIST, NEWMOA, ECOS, Quicksilver Caucus and laboratories in order to develop a strategy for phasing out the use of mercury filled thermometers, including long-term and short-term efforts. Items discussed were the current state regulations, laboratory usage and risks, viable alternatives and benefits as well as summaries on standards organizations involvement and efforts.

    Some initial and ongoing goals were able to be derived from this meeting. ASTM is committed to providing information about the technical committees and standards affected. Along with this information, ASTM encouraged the stakeholders involved to join the affected committees and actively participate in changing the standards in accordance with our consensus process. Multiple divisions of the EPA have agreed to continue researching to determine where continued usage of mercury still exists.

    With the continued research of standards organizations documents, the guidance of NIST on alternatives to liquid-in-glass thermometers, and the assistance of ASTM technical committee E20, this initiative is on its way to developing and achieving some long term goals.

    If you should need further information in regards to this project, you may contact Staff Manager Christine DeJong at To get more information about ASTM Technical Committee E20 on Temperature Measurement please visit the E20 webpage. If you wish to join ASTM technical committees please visit

    ASTM Mercury Related Standards