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Madison recycling company was fined $90,000. Science & Environment| Science & Environment

Madison recycling company was fined $90,000. Science & Environment| Science & Environment

Mercury levels in the atmosphere were eight times higher that recommended standards. Mercury was also found inside workers vehicles, suggesting that they could be at risk of additional exposure at home. (Workers refused to have their homes tested.

According to the agencies, workers were not wearing protective equipment such as gloves, respirators, and shoes covers. One worker stated that he had only recently started wearing protective gear. None of them changed their clothes or shoes before going to work.

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According to the complaint, DNR worked with Midwest Lamp from 2017 to 2018 to improve the facility’s sampling protocols, mercury emissions control, and proper hazardous waste management. In 2018, the DNR ordered the company’s cleanup of mercury contamination.

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The complaint states that the DNR had documented ongoing violations in 2019. One inspection was stopped due to excessive mercury in the air.

DNR reported that mercury levels in trash sent to the Mallard Ridge Landfill (which is not licensed for hazardous waste) were more than 10x the legal limit. According to the complaint, Midwest Lamp sent more then 156 tonnes of lamps to landfills between 2018 and 2019.

Midwest Lamp could not show that the facility had ever had the equipment necessary to recycle lamps in accordance with the law, and that there was no market for the hazardous materials produced.

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