Sustainable Hospitals
Mercury Reduction
Best Management Practices for
Mercury-containing Products in the Hospital
"Best management practices" for mercury are the procedures that have been found by experience to effectively prevent the release of mercury into the environment. By implementing best management practices now, the hospital can help to avoid the need for increased regulations in the future. For most mercury-containing products in the hospital, the preferred best management practice is to replace the item with a mercury-free product. However, it may not be possible to replace all of the hospital's mercury products at once and, in a few cases, there may not be a substitute that is considered to be reliable and cost-effective. For these products, best management practices are effective procedures for handling and either recycling or disposing of the mercury-containing products. Recycling is recommended. Disposal should be the last resort.
Mercury-containing products can be found almost anywhere in the hospital. They range from medical instruments and clinical laboratory chemicals to electrical equipment and cleaning solutions. This section is organized by product: For each product the chapter describes:
  • The alternatives for mercury-containing products
  • The best management practices for handling and recycling or disposing of mercury-containing products that are still in use
In all cases, when a mercury-containing product is still in use, the hospital's hazardous waste management coordinator will have the ultimate responsibility for its recycling or disposal. All personnel within the hospital who handle mercury-containing products must cooperate with the hazardous waste management coordinator to develop appropriate procedures for the handling of items to be discarded and their transportation to the designated hazardous waste collection point.
Management Practices

Fever Thermometers
Gastrointestinal Tubes
Dental Amalgam and Mercury
Laboratory Chemicals
Pharmaceutical Products
Cleaners and Degreasers
Electrical Equipment
Thermostat Probes in Gas Appliances
Industrial Thermometers
Pressure Gauges
Storage Areas
Hospital Employee Health and Safety
Related Topics:
Case Studies
Why is mercury a problem?
How to establish mercury pollution prevention in your hospital.

Mercury Reduction
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