[From Ensia] Mercury used to be commonplace in a variety of products used in health care settings, including thermometers, cleaning agents and electronic devices, such as fluorescent lamps and computer equipment. Mercury is a dangerous toxin that can be harmful to humans, including to the brain and kidneys. It can be absorbed through cuts and abrasions in the skin. Studies show that mercury makes its way into our nation’s rivers, lakes, streams and drinking water, jeopardizing human health and the environment. Twenty-five years ago health care leaders across the nation worked to remove mercury from operations, and they have succeeded in significantly phasing out the use of the chemical, replacing it with safe, cost-effective alternatives.
Since then, progress on health care sustainability has continued. Today we’re seeing efforts to tackle root causes and complex, sectorwide problems like climate change and greening the supply chain — reducing health care’s impact on the environment and the environment’s impact on public health. (Continue Reading)