How does Mercury harm humans?

Some thermometers and blood pressure measuring machines often break and then the mercury filled in them gets into the environment. This mercury mixes in the air and becomes a gas due to which this poisonous smoke can irritate the people nearby. If someone accidentally inhales this air, his lungs, kidneys and nervous system can be damaged. Not only this, the mercury released from broken machines can also contaminate the surrounding area and the dirty water of the hospital.

How do we come in contact with mercury?

According to the united states Environmental Protection Agency, people usually come into contact with mercury when they eat fish and oysters that contain a poisonous substance called methylmercury. Methylmercury is a very poisonous form of mercury. The risk of coming in contact with mercury present in the air is slightly less. This can happen when mercury leaks from a container or broken equipment. If this mercury is not cleaned quickly, it mixes in the air and becomes a gas which we cannot see nor does it have any smell but it is very poisonous.

What is the project to eliminate the use of mercury?

The name of this project, led by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and run by the World health Organization (WHO), is - 'Eliminating Mercury Measuring Instruments in the Healthcare Sector'. The objective of this project is to develop and implement strategies that can prevent the import, export and manufacturing of thermometers and blood pressure measuring machines. This project will run for 5 years and its aim is to make these five countries adopt the good practices adopted at the international level. Sheila Agarwal-Khan, director of UNEP's industry and Economy Division, said, "We need to look at this from a One health perspective. This initiative is important not only to protect our health but also because it will improve our health services. The impact on the environment is less."

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