Argentina is now one among the few countries that are actively trying to ban mercury from all medical devices because of efforts by local doctors and NGOs. Organised by Healthcare Without Harm and a number of other organisations that work on toxicology, the campaign targeted thermometers and blood pressure measuring devices that contain mercury. Resolution 139/2009, signed on February 23rd, requires hospitals and clinics to purchase safe mercury-free versions of this medical equipment. The new initiative also calls for a convention of health specialists to work towards phasing out all other uses of the dangerous chemical.
The campaign is among a number of similar moments around the world to reduce the reliance of the medical community on mercury. Like many other countries, Argentinean doctors and nurses recognised the importance of a mercury free medical environment and worked to support the campaign. The European Union is another leader in efforts to reduce the impact of mercury and passed a comprehensive reform in 2005. Internationally, the World Health Organization has also called for a phase out of medical devices containing mercury.
HEAL has been a strong proponent of reducing the amount of mercury we interact with in medical centers as well as in many other products. We have produced a report with Healthcare Without Harm on the dangers of mercury and how reductions can be made which you may find here. In this report you will find a lot of useful information relating to mercury in medical devices including a specific fact sheet on replacing sphygmomanometers. Please also look around the Mercury and Health portion of our website to find further information and other recent updates in this important subject.
Written on 5 March 2009.
>>> Stay Healthy Stop Mercury website
Conference report: Dental Sector as a Source of Mercury Contamination, May 2007
NGO letter to the Environment Committee of the European Parliament and EU delegation to UNEP meeting calling for a mercury export ban, 31/1/2007
PR:“Stop this toxic trade!”: NGOs demand tough mercury limits
PR: Setback for health: EU Parliament shirks banishing mercury from measuring devices (14/11/2006)
Mercury and Vaccines Fact Sheet
Mercury and Fish Consumption Fact Sheet
Mercury & Health Fact Sheet
Mercury in Health Care Fact Sheet
Managing Small Mercury Spills Fact Sheet
Substituting Mercury Sphygmomanometers Fact Sheet
For older PRs and publications, see our Resources and press section