Kerala hospitals start phasing out mercury equipment

Thiruvananthapuram, June 27 (IANS) Four hospitals in Kerala have begun phasing out mercury-based equipment as part of an initiative to reduce potential health and environmental risks of the toxic metal.

The hospitals have started phasing out mercury-based equipment like thermometers and sphygmomanometers with the help of Delhi-based environmental organisation Toxics Link and Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) based here, an official release said late Wednesday.

The four hospitals that have volunteered to phase out mercury from their healthcare facilities are: Lakeshore Hospital and Research Centre in Kochi, state government-run Taluk hospital, Samad IVF Hospital and Jubilee Memorial Hospital in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

“Being mercury-free is a progressive step after signing of a global mercury treaty, which talks about phasing out mercury use globally owing to its devastating health impacts,” Satish Sinha, associate director of Toxics Link, said.

Mercury is a very potent neuro- and nephro-toxic substance and is used widely in the healthcare sector in thermometers, sphygmomanometers, dental amalgams and laboratory reagents. Globally. There is a move to stop the use of this dangerous metal.

Toxics Link and CISSA have also introduced a training programme to create awareness among health workers about the potential health and environmental risks of mercury.

Toxics Link is an environmental NGO, dedicated to bringing toxics related information into the public domain, both relating to struggles and problems at the grassroots as well as global information to the local levels.

The Kerala-based CISSA is a voluntary organisation of scientists and citizens combining rigorous scientific analysis, innovative policy development and effective citizen advocacy to build a cleaner, safer and healthier world.

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