Switching to alternatives

Accurate, affordable and safe alternatives to mercury thermometers and blood pressure devices are available in most countries.  Hospitals on every continent have successfully made the switch, often saving money.

The resources listed below provide both technical specifications and examples of hospitals and health systems going mercury free.

While switching to mercury-free dentistry is more complicated, the Minamata Convention calls for a phase-down of mercury dental amalgam. HCWH and the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health Research have produced collaboratively a report on alternatives to mercury dental amalgams. Read the report


Replacement of mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers in health care

This short Technical guide published by the World Health Oragnization in 2011 is designed to provide step-by-step instructions for the safe substitution of non-mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers in health-care settings. It identifies available resources that support the equivalent accuracy and comparable clinical utility of the substituted products, while protecting health-care workers and the environment. It is designed for professionals responsible for institutions or ministries desiring to switch to safer non‐polluting technologies in health care. Download guide

Mercury elimination guides for hospitals (available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese)

In order to scale-up the replacement of mercury-based medical devices around the world, HCWH has put together a guide that systematizes the basic steps in mercury substitution. 

Download: English | Español | Português | Chinese




Guidance on maintaining and calibrating non-mercurial clinical thermometers and sphygmomanometers

Guidance issued by UNDP GEF Global Healthcare Waste Project presents general procedures for maintaining and calibrating common types of non-mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers to make sure that they function and can be used properly. 




Training video on mercury waste in hospitals

HCWH has released a video meant to be part of training program for hospitals around the world aiming to eliminate mercury and safely manage and store mercury waste while governments search for a more permanent solution. The video is based on the UNDP-GEF Global Healthcare Waste Project mercury waste management guidelines and was produced with support from UNEP and the government of Norway.

Toward the tipping point WHO-HCWH global initiative to substitute mercury-based medical devices in health care: A two-year progress report

2010 Progress Report on the Global Mercury-Free Health Care Initiative: Toward the Tipping Point: WHO-HCWH Global Initiative to Substitute Mercury-Based Medical Devices in Health Care contains multiple examples of mercury-free healthcare from around the world.