Reduction of mercury containing products in healthcare facilities would significantly decrease mercury emissions released to the environment. For any existing mercury-containing products, proper disposal is very important. A listing for mercury disposal options and mercury spill kit vendors for New England has been compiled by EPA-Region 1.
Possible sources of mercury in healthcare facilities include:
- Mercury thermometers
The restricted use of mercury thermometers (available by a physician’s prescription) became effective in January 2001 (RSA 149-M:51 through 149-M:57). Replace your mercury thermometers with digital thermometers.
- Mercury sphygmomanometers
- Mercury oxide/Mercury zinc batteries
These are generally the small button batteries. They should be recycled, or disposed as a hazardous waste.
- Mercury lamps (fluorescent bulbs)
ALL fluorescent bulbs contain mercury.
They are energy efficient and are recommended for use, but they should be recycled!
- Mercury weight esophageal dilators
Mercury weight Cantor tubes
Mercury weight Miller-Abbott tubes
Mercury weight feeding tubes
All dilators and tubes are available in non-mercury weighted varieties.
- Mercury dental amalgams
Amalgam is 50 percent mercury! If non-mercury alternatives are not being used, waste amalgam should be recycled. For more information, please visit NHPPP web page Pollution Prevention for Dental Offices.
- Thermostats with mercury switches
Many thermostats contain mercury. For old thermostats being replaced, see if the manufacturer has a take-back program, or recycle. For more information on the location of recycling bins, please visit the NHPPP Mercury Thermostat Recycling Program.
- Gauges with liquid mercury
- Equipment with mercury switches
- Displacement/Plunger Relay
- Flame Sensor/Safety Valve
- Hitachi Chem Analyzer
- Electron Microscope
- Mercury Barometer
- Many laboratory chemicals
- Many cleaning products