THE dangers posed by mercury have been known for years now, but medical devices that use the substance remain in service in many healthcare systems around the world — among them that of the Philippines.
Indeed, the lowly thermometer with mercury is still common in this country, and not only because these are cheap compared to the digital versions. It is also because far too many people, health professionals included, have for decades underestimated the risks of having mercury around. Yet as the international organization Health Care Without Harm has observed, although a thermometer may have only a gram of the toxic substance, “the situation takes on more serious dimensions” when taken cumulatively in a hospital ward or in an entire hospital.
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Video courtesy of Bowling Green University, Ohio EPA, Rader Environmental
As 2007 draws to a close, i Report’s Power and Poisons series ends with a piece that explores government and private initiatives toward a mercury-free healthcare system. But far from coming up with dire prospects for such efforts, the story stresses that despite all sorts of obstacles, the country finally looks well on its way toward having medical facilities that are clear of mercury. And while it may take considerable time before it achieves that, even foreign observers are for once saying that at least the Philippines is pointing toward the right direction.
Read on at pcij.org.