Volume 62 | Winter 2010
“Mercury Thermometer Identification"
By Philip Kercher, FASHE, CHFM
Making hospitals mercury-free has been a goal of the AHA, ASHE and Practice
Greenhealth, a non-profit organization committed to support and inform health
care facilities on sustainability issues. Mercury has long been recognized as a
potent neurotoxin. Mercury-column blood pressure manometers are quickly
disappearing, replaced by aneroid gauges. Electronic thermometers have replaced
mercury thermometers in most clinical locations.
Here’s a tip to identify a mercury thermometer. A mercury thermometer contains
the silver-colored fluid many of us remember from broken thermometers or Mercoid
switches in our boiler controls. However, most thermometers have a red-colored
liquid within them. This material is alcohol-based and is not mercury.
Therefore, there is no need to replace them.
Silver is mercury and red is alcohol. Keep up the good work to eliminate mercury
from the work place as much as possible!
Issues of the WSSHE NEWSLINE can be found at:
The WSSHE NEWSLINE is published quarterly as a service to WSSHE Members. The
purpose of the NEWSLINE is to promote the Society by sharing information of
interest to the Members. Please send brief articles or information updates to
the WSSHE Editor care of:
Geoffrey W. Glass PE, CHFM
Providence St. Peter Hospital
413 Lilly Road
Olympia, WA 98506-5166