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Hospitals - Mercury Process

Following are a set of P2 options you may wish to implement. No option is perfect for everyone, but sometimes options that have worked at one facility can work at yours. They might also serve as inspiration.

Reviewed Hospitals - Mercury Options

Following are a list of options that have been reviewed by pollution prevention specialists. These options have worked at other facilities and may work at yours.


Blood Pressure Units

Replace mercury blood pressure units with non-mercury alternatives.

Replace mercury thermometers

Replace mercury thermometers with non-mercury alternatives.

Mercury spill-response

In case of a very small spill (such as breakage of a fever thermometer): Try to ventilate the room to outside air and close the room off from the rest of the house. Promptly turn off central heating or cooling systems. Be sure to seal the heating and air-conditioning ducts. If available use fans for a minimum of one hour to help ventilate the room. Pick up the mercury with eye dropper or scoop up beads with a piece of paper and place it in a sealable plastic zipper bag, a plastic or glass jar or bottle and tightly close the lid. Use any non-metallic material to clean up scattered mercury beads - a suitable scraper and dustpan can be constructed from a plastic soda bottle or similar container. Leave the recovered mercury in the room where the spill occurred. Then, call your local health department for the nearest approved mercury disposal location. If the disposal location is not convenient, wrap mercury and broken glass in plastic or newspaper and dispose of with other household solid waste. When cleaning up a very small mercury spill: DO NOT use household products to clean up the spill - particularly Windex®, Formula 409®, bleach or similar cleansers containing ammonia or chlorine. They will react violently with mercury, releasing toxic gases. DO NOT attempt to clean up the mercury by sweeping or by using a vacuum cleaner. Never use a household vacuum cleaner because it causes the metallic mercury to vaporize in the air, creating greater health risks. And, you may have to dispose of the vacuum cleaner later. DO NOT place contaminated garments in a washing machine or clothes dryer or combine with other clothing. Instead, place contaminated garments in a plastic bag and then seal the bag before ensuring proper disposal. DO NOT wash mercury into drains.

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