The sad irony about hospitals is that the place we go to improve our health can too often become a place where we get sick. HAIs (hospital acquired infections) are a critical concern for any healthcare facility and one of the reasons why Solaris was founded. However, there is another silent (and odourless) danger lurking in the hallways, patient rooms and ORs of hospitals: mercury.
We have known about the adverse health effects of mercury for centuries. The first fatal cases of Methylmercury were reported in 1865, yet we still stock our healthcare institutions with mercury-based equipment that cause harm to people and end up turning into pollution.
Knowing all that we do about the dangers that it poses; it doesn’t make sense that our modern hospital equipment still has mercury in them. Mercury can cause permanent health impairments, especially in children, as well as countless environmental issues.
So why does mercury still exist in the healthcare industry, appearing in modern equipment? Isn’t that the last place you would expect to find traces of the neurotoxin? Furthermore, why are hospitals still contributing to mercury pollution through their waste?
Maybe we are still missing the point. Maybe we are not convinced that a change is needed. Maybe we are overlooking the cautionary facts about mercury.
We can do better and we must do better. That’s why we are helping to pave the way to make hospitals mercury-free through educational programs and cutting-edge innovations at Solaris.
Our LinkedIn page is one of the outlets where we present insights to help bring to light the harm caused by mercury-containing equipment. We also share tips on how facilities can become mercury-free.
With an issue as serious as this, there should be no beating around the bush. So, let’s examine some of the harmful effects mercury is causing today.
Effects of Exposure to Mercury on Pregnant Women
According to the CDC, about 6 percent of women of child-bearing age in the US have high blood mercury levels that are unsafe for the growing fetus. Even scarier is the report that around 60,000 children in the US may be born with permanent neurological problems due to mercury exposure before birth. The effect on their mental development, motor skills, and memory is unimaginable.
Effects of Mercury on Children
The effect on children under 14 is almost the same as that of babies exposed to mercury before birth. In most cases, their developing brains and nervous systems take the hit and are damaged irreversibly. It can lead to paralysis, blindness, and even death.
Effects of Mercury on the Environment
Mercury spills and waste pollutes the air we breathe and damage bodies of water. Evidence of such pollution is easily found in the biology of many forms of aquatic life.
What is so disheartening is that we still have hospitals using mercury-based equipment. Common culprits are mercury thermometers, UV-C disinfection machines with mercury-loaded lamps, and blood pressure gauges. Mercury-containing equipment eventually becomes disposed of, where the harmful element then enters the environment.
Medical waste is currently the 4th largest source of mercury pollution in the environment.
So, What Can Be Done Differently?
Reducing and eventually eliminating the use of mercury is more possible than ever. At Solaris, we are championing the elimination of mercury – across also facets of healthcare and medical technology. It’s a mission we believe is critical to achieving and one we are proud to support.
Over the next few weeks, we will share facts, tips, and insights on why your facility should become mercury-free and how to achieve that goal.
So far, over 4,000 healthcare facilities in the US have committed to becoming mercury-free. Isn’t it time for you to join the movement? Make a pact to eliminate mercury use in your equipment, facility, and environment for the safety of our people and planet.
Our commitment to this mission can be seen in our Lytbot 2.0, mercury-free pulsed UV disinfection robot. Now, any facility can benefit from gold-standard UV disinfection, with no capital spending and absolutely no mercury. We are not just a part of the movement; we’re leading the way through innovation.
Remember, a cleaner, healthier future is in all of our hands. Become a part of the solution and start to make a change for the better today.