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PIA Press Release
2010/06/04

HCWH-SEA gains 2 more partners in phasing-out mercury in health care

Tuguegarao City (June 4) -- Barely three months before the deadline of mercury phase-out in all Philippine health care facilities and institutions, Collins International Trading Corp (CITC) and Watsons Personal Care Stores (Phil.), Inc have teamed-up with HCWH-SEA in intensifying campaign to put mercury devices to a rest and provide alternatives to health care facilities and the general public.

In a press release emailed to PIA, HCWH-SEA's Faye Ferrer said that CITC, a distributor of household and medical products, vowed to deliver carefully chosen quality products at reasonable prices in order to uplift the living and working standards of their clientele.

"We do not want the irreversible damage of mercury exposure in our conscience. We do not want to cause it or to be an accessory to the crime of mercury poisoning," Omron Healthcare Brand Marketing Manager Julie Lee said.

CITC, ever since acquiring Omron, has never distributed any mercurial healthcare devices and have been actively supporting the campaign on mercury phase-out. Omron is the medical product being distributed by CITC.

Watsons Personal Care Stores Phils. (WPCS), on the other hand, has bid mercury-containing equipment such as thermometers and blood pressure monitors goodbye in its 176 stores around the country.

Flyers on mercury-its toxicity and tips on handling mercury spillage-will be distributed in all the stores. While a public service announcement (PSA) with HCWH-SEA and VJ Juddha Paolo will be played in all Watsons' TV screens.

With 176 stores all over the country and an average of hundred customers daily, WPCS Phils. hoped to reach 176,000 people everyday. "We hope that they will share what they have learned to their friends and family who will then pass it on forward to more people," said Robert U. Sun, Chief Operating Officer of Watsons Personal Care Stores (Phils.), Inc.

Watsons pharmacists and pharmacy assistants will be given training materials on the harmful effects of mercury-containing devices. "We will guide our staff on the dangers of mercury and encourage them to actively explain this to customers," said Sun.

Watsons is donating 1,000 thermometers to 50 government hospitals while CITC is donating 5,000 digital thermometers to HCWH partner hospitals.

Meanwhile, HCWH-SEA's Faye Ferrer said that mercury phase-out does not stop with the phase-out per se. "We need to provide alternatives. We need to find an intermediate disposal for all the phased-out devices", she added.

The Department of Health (DoH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) HCWH-SEA are in the process of discussing intermediate disposal for mercury and importation ban on mercury. Likewise, HCWH-SEA is involved with a United Nations Development Programme-Global Environment Facility (UNDP-GEF) Project which targets to identify a possible intermediate disposal area for mercury. (PIA 2) [top]

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