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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Sources of Mercury in Healthcare Facilities

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

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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