Mercury in Health Care

Also see Fluorescent Lamps and Universal Waste.



    • Dental Guides. These guides from the National Wildlife Federation help dentists and office staff safely dispose of waste containing materials such as mercury that could pollute area waterways. One of these guides, The Environmentally Responsible Dental Office: A Guide to Proper Waste Management in Dental Offices, won the American Dental Association’s coveted Golden Apple Award.
    • Eliminating Mercury in Hospitals. Identifies where mercury is found in hospitals and how it can be eliminated. Gives persuasive reasons why it should be eliminated. Produced by U.S. EPA Region 9 Pollution Prevention Program. (Mention of trade names, products, or services does not convey, and should not be interpreted as conveying, official EPA or CalRecycle approval, endorsement, or recommendation. Other disclaimers apply.)
    • A Guide to Mercury Assessment and Elimination in HealthCare Facilities. From the California Department of Health Services and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. Also download the companion documents, the Mercury Assessment Toolkit and the Toolkit Readme file.
    • Mercury-Free Medical and Surgical Supplies Fact Sheet. From Inform.
    • Mercury in the Environment–A set of brief fliers from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control covering mercury-containing equipment commonly found in businesses and institutions (thermostats and probes, fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, thermometers, switches and relays, and gauges). Multiple copies are available to California organizations that distribute them free of charge. Call 1-800-700-5854 and ask for document number 623.


    • Mercury-Containing Products–U.S. EPA’s information on products containing mercury.
    • Mercury Elimination Leadership Program (HELP). The HELP program recognizes hospitals who have built a mercury-free work environment. HELP is a joint effort of the California Departments of Toxic Substances Control and Health Services, the California Healthcare Association, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Region IX, Hospitals for a Healthy Environment, and Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW).
    • Mercury in Health Care Lab Reagents. This reference can help you identify potential mercury-containing reagents, so you can work toward reducing or eliminating mercury from your lab. From the University of Minnesota, Technical Assistance Program.
    • Mercury Spill Resources. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
      • Think mercury can’t get to you? Watch the online videos posted on the Michigan DEQ website that show mercury vapor evaporating from spilled mercury at room temperature. Federal and California regulations classify mercury waste as hazardous. Regulations try to keep mercury out of municipal trash and out of municipal landfills, and these videos illustrate one reason why. Mercury vapor might also escape municipal landfills by means other than evaporation.
      • Information from Inform about mercury-free industrial thermometers, manometers, thermostats, and switches.

For more information contact: Health Care Waste Reduction and Recycling,