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Analysis of calls concerning mercury-containing measuring devices to UK National Poisons Information Service [Abstract]

Dyke, N., Cooper, George A. and Thompson, John Paul 2009. Analysis of calls concerning mercury-containing measuring devices to UK National Poisons Information Service [Abstract]. Clinical Toxicology 47 (5) , p. 502. 10.1080/15563650902952273

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Objective: The European commission has proposed a directive amendment to restrict the sales of mercury in all clinical thermometers and in other, new, measuring devices to the general public. This is anticipated to reduce the impact on the environment and therefore reduce toxicity to humans and wildlife both acutely and in the long-term. In the UK this will come into effect on 3rd April 2009 as an amendment to the Controls on Dangerous Substances and Preparations Regulations. In light of this, a retrospective study to determine the percentage of mercury related calls due to these measuring devices was undertaken. Methods: Calls to the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) from 1 January 2007 to 31st December 2007 concerning mercury were examined and the percentage of calls relating to thermometer, sphygmomanometer and barometer analysed as well as other calls concerning mercury. The calls were also assessed to determine 1) how many of these calls needed advice on disposal indicating that a spill had occurred or 2) how many needed referral to hospital. Results: There were 132 calls involving mercury; the majority of calls were regarding thermometers, 87 (67%). Barometers accounted for 6 (5%) and sphygmomanometers 4 (3%) of calls, therefore calls concerning all mercury-containing measuring devices implicated in the directive change accounted for 97 (75%) mercury calls. 48 (50%) of calls regarding measuring devices required advice on clean-up due to spillage. Only one call regarding a thermometer resulted in advice to attend A&E because of respiratory symptoms after inhalation. Conclusion: Calls regarding measuring devices containing mercury accounted for the vast majority of all mercury calls with clinical thermometers being the principal enquiry. Half of these calls needed advice on clean-up of a spillage, indicating potential loss of mercury into the environment. The proposed directive may decrease public exposure from elemental mercury, decrease public exposure and environmental impact and decrease enquiries to the NPIS. References: Directive 2007/51/EEC of the European parliament, 2007. Controls on Dangerous Substances and Preparations Regulations (S.I.2006 No. 3311) Schedule I, 2006.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RS Pharmacy and materia medica
Additional Information: Abstracts of the XXIX International Congress of the European Association of Poison Centres and Clinical Toxicologists, May 12–15, 2009, Stockholm, Sweden. (Abstract no.260)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1556-3650
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2020 01:22

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