The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Pollution Prevention Program (NHPPP) partnered with the New Hampshire Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons to promote the proper management and recycling of mercury-containing devices.
The partnership conducted a survey to evaluate the medical community's level of awareness about mercury devices and number of mercury-containing intraocular pressure reducersand sphygmomanometers in use. In 2005, New Hampshire had 54 licensed ophthalmologists practicing at 18 medical offices. Seventy-eight percent of medical offices responded to the survey
Survey Results from Respondents
|0%||Offices using mercury-containing intraocular pressure reducers|
|14%||Offices using mercury-containing sphygmomanometers|
Mercury-containing medical equipment is not generally found at ophthalmologist offices. During conversations with the Society, it was discovered that most eye surgeries are performed at area hospitals. This results in a limited need for these types of mercury-containing medical devices to be used or stored in ophthalmology offices.
In addition, 85 percent of New Hampshire hospitals are Hospitals for a Healthy Environment partners and have pledged to be mercury-free by 2005. Based on results from the 1999 and 2001 mercury use at hospital surveys, we can conclude that mercury-containing intraocular pressure reducers have been removed from hospitals.
Other Mercury Devices
Medical offices do generate other mercury containing devices, such as fluorescent lamps, computer monitors and batteries. All of these devices can be managed and recycled under the Universal Waste Rules. As part of this outreach project, NHPPP provided publications to the 18 ophthalmologist offices on the management of these waste streams.
The results of this specific survey indicate New Hampshire hospitals and eye physicians have done a remarkable job phasing out and eliminating these specific medical devices such that they are no longer a major source of mercury use and/or potential mercury pollution.
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