Group expects Ford to remove mercury switches
from recalled autos
Washington— Inside the 3.8
million vehicles that Ford is recalling for defective cruise control
switches are approximately 2.5 million mercury switches that pose
another threat to the public. These switches combined contain
as much as 6,500 pounds of mercury, which is as much mercury as
the top five emitting coal-fired power plants emit in one year.
Mercury switches are the nation's
largest manufacturing source of toxic mercury. If not removed
from vehicles prior to the steel recycling process, the mercury
enters the environment and threatens public health.
The following statements may
be attributed to the Partnership for Mercury-Free Vehicles:
"Ford can fix two dangerous
problems at once by removing the toxic mercury switches that are
contained in many of these vehicles. The recalled vehicles are
responsible for the majority of Ford's use of mercury switches
during the years covered by the recall."
"Removing mercury switches
would allow Ford to take the lead in preventing mercury emissions
from their vehicles. All domestic automakers ought to take responsibility
and remove these toxic switches and replace them with mercury-free
alternatives when they have vehicles in for repair.
"Domestic automakers have
resisted efforts by states to make them responsible for the mercury
switches. They have contended that the switches take only 48 seconds
to remove and that dismantlers ought to be responsible to do it
without compensation. If that is the case, we encourage Ford to
take an extra minute to remove the mercury switches and help eliminate
this toxic substance from our environment."
"The domestic auto industry
used an estimated 197 tons of mercury in vehicle switches in the
U.S. over the past 30 years, and continued to use mercury switches
for many years after promising to change to mercury-free alternatives
and well after they installed the mercury-free alternatives in
their vehicles sold in Europe. Using mercury switches saved the
automakers only pennies per car."