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The Initiative

Health Care Without Harm and the World Health Organization are co-leading a global initiative to achieve virtual elimination of mercury-based thermometers and sphygmomanometers over the next decade and their substitution with accurate, economically viable alternatives.

The initiative is a component of the UN Environment Programme's Mercury Products Partnership.


The Issue

Mercury, one of the world's most ubiquitous heavy metal neurotoxicants, has been an integral part of many medical devices, most prominently thermometers and sphygmomanometers.

These devices break or leak with regularity, adding to the global burden of mercury in the environment and exposing health care workers to the acute effects of the metal itself.

The health care sector around the world is moving to replace mercury-based medical devices with affordable, accurate and safer alternatives.

Mercury Elimination Guides for Hospitals
(available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese)


Training Video on Mercury Waste in Hospitals
(produced by HCWH with support from UNEP and the government of Norway)

WHO Executive Board Passes Resolution on Mercury

The World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board  recommended that the 67th World Health Assembly pass a resolution on the role that WHO and ministries of public health should play in the implementation of the Minamata Convention, which sets out internationally legally binding measures to address the risks of mercury and mercury compounds on human health and the environment.

The Resolution encourages ministries take the necessary domestic measures to promptly sign, ratify and implement the Minamata Convention on Mercury as they address the health aspects of exposure to mercury and mercury compounds in the context of the health sector uses. Download Resolution

Technical Guidance on Substituting Mercury Thermometers and Sphygmomanometers

Click on the image to download the Report

Mercury-Free Health Care Two-Year Progress Report

Click on the image to download the Report

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