Estimating mercury flows through thermometers and sphygmonometers in healthcare facilities in Thailand on the basis of a material flow analysis.Wongsoonthornchai, M and Kwonpongsagoon, S.
Advanced Materials Research, 931-932: 629-634.
This paper investigated mercury (Hg) flows and stock through mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers in Thailand for 2010 using Material Flow Analysis (MFA) based on mass balance principles. All calculations in this study are based on data from hospital surveys and reliable secondary data sources. This study indicates that all thermometers and sphygmomanometers used in Thailand were only imported. Mercury contained in thermometers and sphygmomanometers was about 1,675 kg and 5,375 kg respectively. During the use phase, thermometers can release roughly 70% of Hg into the environment (air and water) while no emissions were emitted from sphygmomanometers. This study also shows that about 20-30% of mercury thermometer and sphygmomanometer waste were disposed of in landfills and incinerators. Hg can be released into air, land, and water at approximately 53%, 35%, and 12% respectively. According to our scenario analysis, it shows that phasing out Hg medical-based devices combined with preventing the breakage and spillage of Hg-thermometers can give higher potential reduction of Hg in Thailand.