Jornal Brasileiro de Patologia e Medicina Laboratorial
versión On-line ISSN 1678-4774
RODRIGUES, Evelyn et al. The clinical laboratory free of mercury. J. Bras. Patol. Med. Lab. [online]. 2011, vol.47, n.3, pp.211-216. ISSN 1678-4774. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1676-24442011000300003.
INTRODUCTION: Over the last century, mercury levels in the environment have tripled, increasing the risk of human contamination. Hence, it pollutes groundwater, rivers and seas, and it enters the food chain through the ingestion of contaminated fish. It affects the central nervous system and the inhalation of mercury vapors cause asthenia, fatigue, anorexia, weight loss and gastrointestinal disturbances. The contamination detection is carried out through hair and blood sample analysis. The replacement of mercury-containing equipment used in health services is crucial in order to reduce environmental and occupational hazards. OBJECTIVE: To describe the implementation of "Zero Mercury" program at the Central Laboratory Division of University of São Paulo Medical School Hospital - CLD/USP-MSH (Divisão de Laboratório Central do Hospital das Clinicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo [DLC/HC-FMUSP]). METHODS: The project was developed within the period of three years (2008-2010). During its elaboration, the action plans were defined, including a training program for the team responsible for the implementation of equipment and reagent replacement. RESULTS: By the end of the project, CLD/USP-MSH received an honorable mention by the Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment for the fulfillment of "Mercury Zero" program requirements. CONCLUSION: A mercury-free laboratory environment requires managerial commitment, a consistent action plan and staff awareness of health and environmental risks.
Palabras clave : Mercury; Exposure; Toxicity; Mercury; Health risk; Environmental risk.