PURPOSE: Mercury is widely used in medical and healthcare facilities as dental amalgam, mercury-added medical devices, thiomersal-containing vaccines, laboratory analysis and for other general applications despite the hazards. Various agencies consistently promote mercury-free medical facilities through mercury-free alternatives and better management practices, which are in line with the Minamata Convention on Mercury that aims to protect human health and environment from anthropogenic mercury release. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: The authors conducted a gap analysis on recommended practices gathered from the literature and current practices gathered through semi-structured interviews with Malaysian medical personnel. A life cycle approach was adopted covering mercury use: input, storage, handling, accident, waste disposal and governance phases.
FINDINGS: The authors found that there are significant gaps between recommended and current mercury management practices. Analysis indicates improper mercury management as the main contributor to these gaps. The authors found from recommended practices that core components needing improvement include: mercury management action plan, mercury use identification team, purchasing policy, proper guidelines and monitoring systems.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: This study helps us to understand mercury management practices and suggests essential steps to establish a mercury-free medical facility.
ORIGINALITY/VALUE: This study explored the gaps between recommended and current mercury management practices in a medical facility and contributes to the Minamata Convention on Mercury aspirations.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.