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Photo Courtesy of Spectrum
Photo Courtesy of Spectrum

EPA's Mercury Inventory Reporting Rule

David Hickey
VP, Advocacy

Rule Implemented: July 1, 2019

Here’s what every sign company needs to know about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mercury inventory (recording and reporting) rule.

What is EPA's mercury inventory? 

Mercury inventory reporting is required by Section 8(b)(10)(D) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the mercury inventory reporting rule.  

TSCA requires EPA to publish an inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade every three years, and defines the term “mercury” to mean elemental mercury and a mercury compound. Based on the information collected for the inventory, the Agency is directed to identify any manufacturing processes or products that intentionally add mercury. EPA is also directed to recommend actions, including proposed revisions of federal law or regulations, to achieve further reductions in mercury use. Read the section of TSCA on mercury inventory reporting requirements. 

Who must report their mercury information to EPA?

TSCA requires reporting by “any person” who manufactures or imports mercury or mercury-added products or otherwise intentionally uses mercury in a manufacturing process (read the section of TSCA on mercury inventory reporting requirements). These manufacturers and importers can be companies, organizations, or individuals. It is ISA’s understanding this includes any sign companies and industry stakeholders that work with neon lamps.

Who is exempt from reporting to EPA?

You do not need to report if:

  • Your mercury activity is not for an immediate or eventual commercial advantage;
  • You manufacture or import mercury only as an impurity;
  • You are engaged only in the generation, handling, or management of mercury-containing waste, unless you recover mercury to place in commerce;
  • The only mercury you import is in assembled products that contain a component that is a mercury-added product (an example of such an assembled product is a car containing a mercury-added light bulb); or
  • You manufacture assembled products in the U.S. that contain a component that is a mercury-added product, but you did not first manufacture or import the component that is a mercury-added product.

What if my company only uses a very small amount of mercury?

It is ISA’s understanding that most sign companies use very small amounts of mercury throughout the year in the manufacture of neon lamps. However, you must report your mercury to EPA no matter how small the amount of mercury you manufacture, import, or use. There is no “de minimis” amount or reporting threshold.

EPA has prepared a compliance guide to help people determine who must report. Find resources on mercury reporting requirements, including the compliance guide here.

How can I get help figuring out whether I need to report to EPA?

EPA has prepared a compliance guide to help people determine who must report. Find resources on mercury reporting requirements, including the compliance guide here

What information must companies, organizations, or individuals report to EPA?

There are different requirements for different types of commercial activity and for companies, organizations, or individuals that report mercury data to EPA’s Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) or to the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC).

In general, the data to report are:

  • Amount of mercury produced, imported, stored, used, sold, or exported;
  • Types of products made;
  • Types of manufacturing processes and how mercury is used;
  • Business sectors to which mercury or mercury-added products are sold;
  • Country of origin of imported mercury or mercury-added products; and
  • Destination country for exported mercury or mercury-added products.

How do I report?

You must report online by entering information using the Mercury Electronic Reporting (MER) application. The MER application can be accessed through the Agency's Central Data Exchange (CDX).  Most of the reporting involves entering a number, checking a box, or selecting an item from a drop-down menu. You must have an account with CDX.

Read the CDX user guide for more information. 

Will the information provided to the MER application be publicly accessible?

EPA will aggregate the data it receives from all submitters for the triennially published inventories. For example, the inventories will report total amounts of mercury manufactured by adding together the quantities from all submissions. The Agency will not publish names or other identifying information of submitters.

In addition, the database containing submitters’ information is not designed for public access. However, any information not claimed as TSCA Confidential Business Information or otherwise not protected from disclosure by exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act could be subject to a public request for federal agency records.

Read more about EPA's Freedom of Information Act process here. 

How can I get technical assistance with reporting?

For more resources on reporting requirements, visit:

For questions concerning CDX or TSCA, please contact: