[GRRN] First Step to a Mercury Free Los Angeles

From: Stephanie C. Davis (ScD18@WasteReductionRemedies.com)
Date: Fri Aug 04 2000 - 11:33:52 EDT

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    The below message is forwarded from a listserv.
    Forward as appropriate and apologies for any duplications/multiple listserv
    postings.
    ************

    First Step to a Mercury Free Los Angeles (and California)

    By an 11 to 0 vote, the LA City Council voted this morning to approve a
    resolution titled "First Step to a Mercury Free Los Angeles." The
    resolution (see below) urges hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies to
    eliminate their use of mercury products and calls on the County of Los
    Angeles to do the same. PSR-LA had been working for the past couple months
    with Councilman Ridley-Thomas to put the resolution before the city
    council. Now that it has passed, we have commitments from Councilman
    Ridley-Thomas to help coordinate mercury thermometer exchanges, begin a
    review of the use of mercury by the city, and introduce, within the next
    year, an ordinance banning the sale of mercury thermometers and toys
    in the city of Los Angeles.

    --Adam Levine
    --Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    RESOLUTION

    FIRST STEP TO A MERCURY-FREE LOS ANGELES

    WHEREAS, elementary mercury and mercury compounds are known to be toxic
    and hazardous to human health and the environment; and

    WHEREAS, mercury vapor released into the atmosphere is readily absorbed by
    inhalation and passes through the bloodstream to the central nervous
    system; and,

    WHEREAS, mercury, when released into the environment, is transformed via
    bacterial metabolism into methyl-mercury, a compound which accumulates and
    moves up through the food chain in fish and wildlife; and

    WHEREAS, most mercury exposure in humans occur through consumption of
    fish; and

    WHEREAS, methyl-mercury is known to adversely affect the nervous and
    reproductive systems of humans, with particular danger to pregnant women
    and children due to its damaging effects on the developing brain; and

    WHEREAS, mercury is also used in consumer and medical products, which
    accounts for approximately 30% of the 158 tons of human?generated mercury
    emissions released annually to the atmosphere in the United States; and

    WHEREAS, mercury bearing products include old alkaline batteries and some
    button batteries, fluorescent and high-intensity discharge lamps,
    thermostat gauges and switches, thermometers, sphygmomanometers,
    laboratory agents, amalgam dental fillings, chemistry sets, and older toys
    and games; and

    WHEREAS, effective and appropriate alternatives are currently available
    for most consumer and medical products containing mercury; and

    WHEREAS, pollution prevention is recognized as the most effective way to
    protect human and environmental health; and

    WHEREAS, the American Hospital Association entered into a Memorandum of
    Understanding with the United States Environmental Protection Agency on
    January 24, 1998 calling for the virtual elimination of mercury waste by
    2005; and

    WHEREAS, the American Public Health Association passed a resolution on
    November 10, 1999 urging all health care facilities to promptly eliminate
    mercury?containing waste from incinerator feedstock and encouraged
    community-based mercury reduction efforts; and

    WHEREAS, the California Medical Association passed a resolution on January
    15, 2000 encouraging medical institutions to adopt policies that will lead
    to the eventual elimination of mercury containing products where feasible,
    effective alternatives are available; and

    WHEREAS, highly effective programs for the virtual elimination of mercury
    from hospital waste through the use of mercury-free alternative products,
    pollution prevention strategies and appropriate disposal techniques have
    been initiated in the United States; and

    WHEREAS, the States of New Hampshire and Minnesota, and the City and
    County of San Francisco recently adopted legislation banning or
    restricting the sale, import or manufacture of mercury products within
    their respective jurisdictions; and

    WHEREAS, a number of California hospitals, including UCLA Medical Center,
    Kaiser Permanente, and Catholic Healthcare West, have committed to
    eliminating mercury from their facilities; and

    WHEREAS, Rite-Aid pharmacies have pledged to stop selling mercury
    thermometers; and

    WHEREAS, hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities throughout Los
    Angeles currently use medical products which contain mercury and
    ultimately generate atmospheric and organic mercury toxins; and

    WHEREAS, many retail establishments still sell mercury thermometers, even
    though mercury-free alternatives, such as digital or alcohol thermometers,
    are readily available.

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Los Angeles City Council urges all
    hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities within the City to
    eliminate the purchase and use of products containing mercury whenever
    feasible and effective alternatives are available, and to promptly
    eliminate mercury from the medical waste stream through proper disposal
    and recycling procedures; and

    THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Los Angeles City Council urges
    all retail establishments within the City to replace any and all
    thermometers, toys, games, and other products for sale to the public that
    may contain mercury with mercury?free alternatives; and,

    THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Los Angeles City Council urges
    the County of Los Angeles to take the same steps to eliminate the purchase
    and use of mercury products in the County of Los Angeles, if other
    effective alternatives are available; and

    THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Los Angeles City Council
    intends to continue to pursue this issue and may take further steps to
    implement this resolution to eliminate the mercury and mercury pollution.

    PRESENTED BY___________________________
         Mark Ridley-Thomas
         Councilman, Eighth District

    SECONDED BY____________________________

    -- 
          Stephanie  C. Davis - BFA, MPA
      Experienced Professional of Healthcare &
     Non-Residential Waste Programs
    

    Waste Reduction Remedies sm A Multi-Waste Stream, Multi-Material Waste Management Company

    1497 Hopkins Street #2D Berkeley CA 94702-1201 Telephone & Fax: 510/527-8864 Pacific Time E-mail: ScD18@WasteReductionRemedies.com



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