DEAR SUN SPOTS: Recently, I was cleaning out my medicine cabinet and came across several of the old stick-in-mouth type fever thermometers, the kind that are glass with mercury inside. I no longer need them, but am not sure how to safely dispose of them. I don’t want to just toss them in the waste, as that means mercury going to the Auburn incinerator. Where can I dispose of them? — Cam Churchill, Auburn

ANSWER: Maine passed a law in 2003 prohibiting the use of mercury in many devices effective July 1, 2006. The state also prohibits the disposal of mercury thermometers in the garbage.

According to maine.gov, there is a $5 incentive for recycling your thermometer. You can take it to a number of places. Visit www.maine.gov/dep/rwm/mercury/pdf/wholesalerweblist.pdf for a list of them. In L-A they include Atlas Supply Corp., Bell/Simmons, F.W. Webb, Redlon & Johnson and Selco. You will receive an incentive coupon worth $5 or an in-store gift card for $5.

Also at maine.gov, they offer the following guidelines for what to do if you break a mercury thermometer.

• Turn down any heat and ventilate the area so mercury vapors do not build up.

• Do not use a vacuum cleaner to pick up the mercury.

• Wear gloves while cleaning up the mercury.

• Pick up the mercury by using a piece of stiff paper or thin cardboard to push it onto another piece of stiff paper or thin cardboard.

• Use an eyedropper to pick up smaller drops or mercury spilled in cracks.

• You can also use tape to pick small drops.

• Seal all mercury and all mercury-contaminated materials, including gloves, cardboard, eyedropper, and tape, in a leak-proof container.

Dispose of this waste at a household hazardous waste collection (check with your transfer station) or by calling a licensed hazardous waste company (there is a charge for this private service).

You can use these same general guidelines for cleaning up fluorescent bulbs, which contain a small amount of mercury.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am having trouble finding how to write to Sun Spots on the new Web site. I put my event in the events section, but I usually also appeal to the crafters through the Sun Spots section. I find most of the people see our event in Sun Spots. I would really appreciate your help. Thank you. — Mary Wallace, Poland PTSA advertising

ANSWER: Over the summer the Sun Journal made many changes to its computer systems, including a new Web site, which is constantly being updated. Currently, you can go to www.sunjournal.com/releases, where there is a drop-down menu. Select Sun Spots and enter your information. Soon there will also be a link to that page from the Sun Spots site. And of course you can always e-mail your information to [email protected]

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Lewiston Housing Authority’s Hillview housing development is home to a Sew Fabulous sewing club for youth. The girls who live here love learning about sewing and making new products, and we are currently planning on having a fashion show in December but are low on materials. The Sew Fabulous sewing club is looking for donations of any fabric, patterns, needles or anything that has to do with sewing. Donations may be dropped off at the front desk of the Hillview Resource Center. For more information, call 783-8539 and ask for Cassie DeFillipo and a pickup of materials can be scheduled. — Cassie DeFillipo, AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Lewiston

DEAR SUN SPOTS: On Saturday, Oct. 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the residents of Roak Block will be holding an indoor yard sale at 156 Main St. in Auburn. Something for everyone. Come join the fun! — No Name, Auburn

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to [email protected]


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