Mercury in hospitals
Mercury is used in many instruments and products in the medical setting because of its uniform response to temperature and pressure changes. Mercury is used in sphygmomanometers, laboratory and patient care thermometers, and gastrointestinal devices. Mercury compounds also are used in preservatives, fixatives and reagents. Mercury from medical applications can enter the environment through sewers, spills and land disposal of trash.
Practice Greenhealth is designed to help hospitals improve their environmental performance. Through this program, health care professionals are educated about mercury reduction and pollution prevention opportunities. Practice Greenhealth provides a wide range of tools and technical resources.
Health Care Without Harm and the World Health Organization are advocating for the virtual elimination of mercury-based thermometers and sphygmomanometers and their substitution with accurate, economically viable alternatives.