HCWH's co-founder Gary Cohen is a recipient of the prestigious Skoll Award. This video, chronicling the evolution of HCWH's work, premiered at the 2009 Skoll World Forum. enlarge video
Laws and Resolutions
In the United States, 13 states representing 30% of the U.S. population have passed laws banning mercury-containing thermometers and sphygmomanometers. For more information, see the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse.
Major medical professional associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and California Medical Association, are also calling for measures to reduce mercury exposure.
The European Union has banned mercury in a number of products including batteries and electronic and electrical equipment, and the EU is leading negotiations to develop a global agreement restricting the mercury trade and use, and ensure the safe long-term disposal of mercury surpluses and reservoirs.
Around the world, countries and regions are passing declarations for Mercury Free Health Care, see below.
U.S. State Laws
- June 10, 2003 Illinois State law (Public Act 93-0165) that bans the manufacture, sale and distribution of mercury fever thermometers and mercury-added novelty items after July 1, 2004.
- May 20, 2003 Maine State law (LD 1159) (pdf) that prohibits the sale of mercury in switches, measuring devices (including sphygmomanometers), instruments and thermostats with an effective date of July 1, 2006.
- May 19, 2003 Washington State law (House Bill 1002) (pdf) that requires the labeling of florescent lamps that contain mercury. Prohibits the sale of mercury-containing items in products such as thermometers, motor vehicles, and thermostats after January 2006. Directs the Department of Ecology to develop and implement a state plan for a permanent mercury repository. Orders the Department of Health to develop an education plan for mercury disposal. Charges schools to find a way to get rid of existing mercury. Sphygmomanometers may not be sold with the exception of a hospital of healthcare facility with a mercury reduction plan in place.
- October 3, 2002 Michigan State law (House Bill 4599) (pdf) that bans the sale of mercury thermometers.
- June 3, 2002 Connecticut State law (House Bill 5539) that bans the sale and distribution of mercury fever thermometers after January 1, 2003 and places restrictions on the sale of other mercury-containing equipment.
- February 25, 2002 Massachusetts State law (House Bill 3772) that bans the sale of mercury fever thermometers.
- October 10, 2001 California State law (SB 633) that restricts the use and distribution of mercury fever thermometers; places controls on the disposal of appliances and vehicle components containing mercury; and bans the addition of mercury to novelties and clothing articles, the sale of a car that contains a mercury vehicle switch and the use of mercury-containing items from use in schools, except for measuring devices.
- August 8, 2001 Oregon State law (HB 3007) that phases out mercury thermostats and prohibits the sale of fever thermometers, novelty products and automotive light switches with mercury.
- July 13, 2001 Rhode Island State law (S 0153) that prohibits the sale or distribution of mercury fever thermometers in the state.
- June 8, 2001 Maine State law (LD 1665) that requires manufacturers of formulated products to disclose mercury content, prohibits hospitals from supplying mercury fever thermometers, bans retail sales of mercury fever thermometers and bans sales of mercury dairy manometers and mercury to schools.
- May 18, 2001 Maryland State law (HB 75) that prohibits the sale of mercury fever thermometers in the state and prohibits primary or secondary schools from using elemental or chemical mercury.
- May 10, 2001 Indiana State law (HB 1901) that limits the circumstances under which a mercury fever thermometers may be sold, prohibits the sale and distribution of most mercury-added novelties and restricts schools from using mercury.
- April 26, 2001 Minnesota State law (SF 70, HF 274) that prohibits the sale or distribution of mercury thermometers.
- June 20, 2000 New Hampshire State law (HB 1418) that prohibits the sale of certain mercury-added products; establishes notification and disclosure requirements for permissible mercury-containing products; establishes limitations on the use of elemental mercury; etc.
Resolutions by Medical Associations
- April 12, 2003 Illinois State Medical Society Resolution (pdf) on eliminating the medical sources of childhood methylmercury exposure
- June, 2002 Washington Academy of Family Physicians Resolution supporting efforts to prevent human and environmental mercury exposure and harm, including the phase out by hospitals and physicians of the use of mercury-containing products where alternatives are possible
- July, 2001 American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on how pediatricians can contribute to decreasing the amount of mercury in the waste stream http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;108/1/197
- June 15, 2001 Wisconsin Public Health Association Resolution supporting a state-wide ban on the sale of home-use mercury thermometers December 1992, renewed 2000 American Medical Association Resolution to eliminate mercury and other toxins from consumer products
- November, 2000 Massachusetts Medical Society Resolution on mercury and waste disposal
- March 14, 2000 California Medical Association Resolution preventing human mercury exposure