last july 14, 2009, we conducted a mercury minimization program workshop w/ d hospital waste mgt. committee (hwmc) of d lucena united doctors hospital & medical center (ludhmc).
mercury is the only metal element dat is in liquid form at room temperature. it is highly toxic, especially when metabolized into methyl mercury. accordingly, it may cause harmful effects 2d nervous, digestive, respiratory, immune systems & 2d kidneys, besides causing lung damage. adverse health effects from mercury exposure can be: tremors, impaired vision and hearing, paralysis, insomnia, emotional instability, developmental deficits during fetal development, and attention deficit and developmental delays during childhood.
In 1991, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that a safe level of mercury exposure, below which no adverse effects, has never been established.
in view of tis, ludhmc is now pursuing a mercury minimization program as part of d hospital’s social development program. some f d strategies include d ff:
- mercury fever thermometers are no longer issued 2patients’ kits. likewise, d pharmacy s no longer selling tis thermometers. 2eliminate oder sources, patients will b prohibited 2bring-in tis kind of fever thermometers.
- identification of mercury containing equipment/devices & sources per department by members of d hwmc. listing of sources & uses of mercury as well as their amt/volume.
- labeling (‘containing mercury’ ) d devices 2alert its users regarding d danger of spillage/breakage. & a goal 2phase-out their purchase in favor of safer, equally effective alternatives. tis includes d assessment of alternatives & their costs.
- pollution prevention tru proper hazardous mercury waste segregation, storage & disposal, e.g. not 2b included in infectious waste stream…
- drafting of a purchasing policy that requires vendors to sign a mercury-content disclosure agreement.
- 2conduct a mercury awareness campaign as well as emplyoyee education & training on preventing and proper handing of mercury spills.
- mercury spills clean-up tool kit will b made available in every nurse stations.
- collection & proper handling of busted fluorescent lamps. mercury containing lamps r stored properly & accounted for in accordance w/ R.A. 6969 (hazwas mgt act) prior 2disposal by an accredited treater. a target of 10% annual replacement of energy efficient & mercury free led lights (light emitting diodes) n d hospital s up4 consideration.
- promotion of dental amalgam fillings alternatives as well as actions like, amalgam storage and handling & amalgam capsule handling. bellow is a preview of a one hour fully referenced documentary about d danger of mercury fr dental amalgam (www.lammag.com and http://www.bcd.com.au):
hope dat tis measures will b d start of a successful program…..