Mercury thermometers on their way out

As per the IMA this will ensure medical hygiene and is eco-friendly as well.

Bengaluru: The days when your local physician popped a thermometer into your mouth to check your temperature, may soon be a thing of the past.

To promote more stringent medical hygiene and eco-friendly practices, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), at the Minamata Convention on mercury, has decided to request all its members to phase out BP instruments and thermometers containing mercury by December 27.

Mercury has been ubiquitous in the healthcare industry and is used in thermometers, blood pressure instruments (sphygmomanometers), esophageal dilators and dental amalgams.

This move, despite being an initial hassle for many general practitioners in the city, would in the long run be beneficial in dealing with the global toxicant.

“Most of today’s hospitals use aneroid manometers instead of the earlier mercury-based ones and in some ways it is a good thing. Despite initial hurdles it is a healthy step towards a better environment. The next generation of doctors may not even know what a thermometer is,” says Dr Sudarshan Ballal, Chairman, Manipal Hospitals.

This medical tool, which was invented in the 1700s by Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, still remains a standard measuring device for many local physicians and clinics.

The IMA declaration on mercury-free health care clearly states that mercury-based medical devices have been or are being phased out in many countries in all regions of the world.

The Association is backed by the assurance that affordable, effective and accurate mercury-free alternatives are available. This move had also been recommended by National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) a few years back.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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