by Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The thermostat in your home could be hazardous to your health.
If it’s an older thermostat and it contains mercury, that’s the danger, according to Ryan Kiscaden of the Thermostat Recycling Corp. based in Fort Washington in Montgomery County.
“Mercury has the capability to contaminate areas pretty broadly even with a little bit of exposure,” Kiscaden explained.
That’s why Kiscaden’s non-profit organization is trying to get mercury thermostats out of homes and into the hands of a group of companies who properly disposing of the dangerous chemical.
In fact, Kiscaden says his organization just moved to Pennsylvania weeks ago for an obvious reason – to get closer to the problem.
“So, if you study the trends related to boiler installations, there just tends to be a preponderance of those devices, equipment still in homes, and commercial applications in the Northeast and certainly along the coast,” Kiscaden said.
While Kiscaden says many heating/cooling systems have been replaced over time, the mercury thermostats had a life expectancy of up to 35 years, and it’s a good bet thousands are still out there and in use.