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PIA Press Release
2010/02/23

DOH aims for mercury-free Philippines

Tuguegarao City (23 February) -- Following movements to ban mercury globally, the Philippine Department of Health said that it will ask for the banning on importation of mercury products in the country.

In an advisory emailed to PIA, Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral in a meeting with environmental health group, Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia (HCWH-SEA) identified other measures to ensure that the public will be safe from mercury.

Cabral said, since Administrative Order (AO) 21was implemented in September 2008, the DoH is no longer giving permits to medical devices distributors to sell mercury thermometers. The program will be escalated to include mercury sphygmomanometers.

Prior to AO 21, all hospitals have a one-is-to-one policy on mercurial thermometers. This means that every patient admitted or discharged in a hospital is entitled to one mercurial thermometer.

In Cagayan Valley, 63 health units out of the 83 hospitals and 96 Rural Health Units (RHU?s)are now implementing Administrative Order 21 which mandates local government units (LGUs) to implement mercury phase-out in health care.

To further strengthen this, Cabral signed the Green Health Covenant which calls for the health sector and other individuals to call on their candidates to support mercury phase-out in the country and other green health care agenda such as proper heath care waste management leading to zero waste, chemical safety in health care and a health care responsive to climate change. (PIA 2) (PIA) [top]

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