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PIA Press Release
Saturday, January 14, 2012

RDC requests EMB-DENR to prepare a mercury storage site in CL

by Joelyn G. Baluyut

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Jan. 14 (PIA) -– Because of the mercury substance’s harmful effects to the nervous, digestive, respiratory, immune systems, lungs and kidneys, the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon has requested the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to prepare a proposal for a common storage site for mercury based devices being phased out in Region 3.

According to a resolution passed and approved by the Sectoral Committee on Social Development (SCSD) of the RDC-3, there is a need for a common storage area for the phased out mercury-based devices because it is safer and more economical than each health facility maintaining its own storage area.

The storage area of the phased out mercury-based devices will require a maximum temperature of 25 degrees to prevent vaporization in case of leakage.

“It is within the first quarter of the year depending on the issue’s urgency and importance that the said proposal will be scanned by the RDC-SCSD that includes the cost requirement and the common storage site,” a National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) official said.

The EMB is mandated under RA 6969 or most commonly known as the “Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990,” to act as the leading agency regarding this issue.

This policy restricts or prohibits the importation, manufacture, processing, sale, distribution, use and disposal of chemical substances and mixtures that present unreasonable risk and/or injury to health or the environment; to prohibit the entry, even in transit, of hazardous and nuclear wastes and their disposal into the Philippine territorial limits for whatever purpose; and to provide advancement and facilitate research and studies on toxic chemicals.

Whereas, the Department of Health (DOH) issued Administrative Order (AO) No. 2008-0021 which provides for the gradual phase out of mercury-based medical devices.

This order gives hospitals and other health facilities two years or until 2010 to replace their mercury-based devices with alternative instruments and were prohibited from distributing mercury thermometers in their admission kits.

The phased out mercury-based devices are stored in respective health facilities because of the absence of a safe storage area.

The EMB is already drafting the proposal, it was learned. (WLB/JGB-PIA 3)

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