Pollution prevention is any practice that reduces, eliminates or prevents pollution at its source. Reducing the amount of pollution produced means less waste to control, dispose of or treat. Pollution prevention is a key to protecting public health and the environment.

Mercury is a naturally occurring metal and a liquid chemical element at room temperature.  It is also one of the primary pollutants of concern in Indiana's rivers and streams. It cannot be artificially produced and it does not break down into other substances. Because of its chemical properties, it conducts electricity and is especially useful in a variety of electronic devices and in industrial applications. Mercury is also highly toxic to humans and wildlife and so must be handled and disposed of properly.

Special information for dentists

Amalgam materials used in the past for filling dental cavities often contained mercury.  Although mercury is no longer used by dentists, dental offices are required to have special equipment including amalgam separators that trap mercury and allow it to be properly handled. 

Significant quantities of mercury have been found in many Indiana streams and in our air. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management maintains a list of which Indiana water bodies are not expected to meet applicable federal water quality standards.