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Medical Industry
Waste Prevention Round Table

Mercury Reduction


Things You Can Do Now / Past Meetings / More Resources / Contacts

Things You Can Do Now

1) Complete facility self-assessment guide at

2) Properly dispose of all products and devices that contain mercury including mercury thermometers, button batteries, spent fluorescent and CFL bulbs, sphygmomanometers, thermostats, and pharmaceuticals that contain calomel or mercury compounds, expired vaccines (may contain thimerosal).

3) Work with suppliers on offering non-mercury alternatives as well as takeback programs by manufacturers that produce products containing mercury, etc.

4) Have mercury spill kits on hand and train staff in proper use.

5) Buy non-mercury cleaning chemicals.

6) Establish fluorescent bulb and battery recycling programs.

7) End the distribution of mercury thermometers to new parents and patients.

Past Meetings

  • Mercury Reduction in Hospitals:
    Practical Tips and Tools
    October 22, 2002 - Seattle/Puget Sound
    November 7, 2002 - Spokane/Coeur D’Alene
    November 14, 2002 - Vancouver/Portland
    Announcement available in pdf
  • Reducing Mercury in Hospitals and Biomedical Facilities
    May 23, 2001 Notes

More Resources

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There is an excellent guide to assessing and eliminating mercury in healthcare facilities at:

There is also some good specific information available regarding:

The recommendations in this guidance document will help minimize or eliminate mercury releases from health care facility incinerators.

H2E's info about managing mercury in your facility. Outstanding set of links-large volume of information

From Medline Plus, another very good compilation of links relating to mercury.

A relational database containing information on the mercury content of products used in various facilities, including clinical and research laboratories has been developed and is available at:

This document provides best management practices for the following products and topics: fever thermometers, sphygmomanometers, gastrointestinal tubes, dental amalgam and mercury, laboratory chemicals, pharmaceutical products, cleaners and degreasers, batteries, lamps, electrical equipment, thermostat probes in gas appliances, industrial thermometers, pressure gauges, plumbing, spills, storage areas, and hospital employee health and safety.

Comprehensive factsheet including info. on environmental effects of mercury, exposure pathways, industrial sources, case studies & reduction strategies for health care facilities.

This document contains examples of mercury purchasing policy language from several health care organizations.

This how-to manual from the Sustainable Hospitals Project outlines the five steps involved with establishing a mercury pollution prevention program at your hospital.

Fact sheet detailing where mercury is found in hospitals and clincs, how to get rid of it, and where to go for help.

HTML program (viewed online or downloadable) that teaches health care professionals about the hazards of mercury as commonly used in health care facilities, especially hospitals and clinics.

List of state mercury reduction programs with program descriptions. Includes programs dealing with mercury in health care.

The purpose of this manual is to help hospitals start mercury pollution prevention programs or accelerate programs that have already begun.

This fact sheet outlines problems you may face when attempting to remove mercury from your hospital labs, steps for tackling mercury in the lab and a table with synonyms and trade names for thimerosal.

: Provides information on how to reduce and eliminate mercury from heathcare facilities, as well as where to go for information.

The US Army Center for Health Promotion has a website devoted to mercury in healthcare facilities. Good links at the bottom of the page.

The Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable has an excellent site with mercury links and info at:

The EPA has a mercury sourcebook covering different medical sectors.


Ken Grimm