The Issue

Mercury no more
On August 16, 2017, the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty that will phase out mercury-based medical devices by 2020, entered into force. Read more.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can harm the brain, spinal cord, kidneys, and liver. It is used throughout health care in a variety of products, including thermometers; sphygmomanometers; dental amalgam; laboratory chemicals; preservatives such as thimerosal; cleaning agents; and various electronic devices such as fluorescent lamps and computer equipment.

The cumulative usage, spills, breakages, and disposal of these products makes the health care sector a significant contributor of mercury pollution in the environment.

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to phase out the use of mercury because of the many safe, cost-effective non-mercury alternatives that exist for nearly all uses of mercury in health care.

As part of a global initiative to reduce the use and spread of mercury in all aspects of society, Health Care Without Harm is leading the effort to eliminate mercury from the health care sector.