April 2001

Volume 10, Number 4

Maine Hospitals/Mercury and PVC Use

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The Maine Hospital Association, in partnership with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Natural Resources Council of Maine, just signed an agreement to voluntarily eliminate the use of most mercury-containing supplies and medical equipment, as well as continuously reduce the use of plastics containing PVC. The agreement also encourages the reduction of PVC use in building materials: “Consider longer term replacement of PVC in durable medical products, construction materials, and furniture when opportunities present themselves.” While most mercury- and PVC-containing medical materials do not present health risks to patients, their disposal—typically through incineration—can result in the release of mercury and dioxins into the environment. Maine becomes the first state in the nation to have such an agreement.

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April 1, 2001