Environmental and health NGOs, including EEB, ZMWG and HCWH, released a report today at their conference in Brussels clearly demonstrating that the transition to mercury-free measuring devices including sphygmomanometers in hospitals is technologically and economically feasible. The European Commission is in the process of reviewing the availability of reliable safer mercury-free alternatives and if appropriate, will present a legislative proposal to extend restrictions for relevant identified uses by October 2009.
“Switching to mercury-free sphygmos should not cause any problems in terms of clinical diagnosis and monitoring. In fact it should improve the accuracy of blood pressure measurement in clinical settings,” (see press release) said Peter Orris, MD, a Professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago, a WHO Collaborating Center in Occupational and Environmental Health and speaker at today’s conference. Many hospitals in the EU have already implemented this change since suitable mercury-free alternatives are currently available on the market.