Mercury products that are used in the health area were banned from being manufactured, imported and marketed by the decree of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), which came into force in early 2019.
According to the entity itself, health services that still use this equipment, such as thermometers and pressure gauges, should make the replacement.
Thermometers with mercury have gradually decreased in circulation over the years, being replaced by digital ones. However, many people can still have the oldest one.
About this, the note from Anvisa advises that there are no restrictions and the products can continue to be used, as long as it is only for residential use and respecting the proper handling and storage.
The use of products with mercury in research, equipment for calibration (adjustment) or used as a reference standard also remains open.
But for those who want to dispose of the product anyway, it is important to be aware of the new guidelines on the collection points.
The note reinforces another measure, also in force since January 2019, which prohibits the use and commercialization of mercury and powder for amalgam alloy in dental procedures (both products used in dental restorations).
The objective is to reduce the risks
As a result of the Minamata Convention – signed in 2013 by 128 countries, including Brazil – the use restriction aims to eliminate mercury due to risks to health and the environment, since disposal is usually done in inappropriate places and can easily contaminate the soil and nearby rivers.
Studies show that exposure to small amounts, about 1.2mG, is enough to cause bronchitis and pulmonary fibrosis, in addition to being associated with damage to the nervous system and thyroid.
Intoxication can happen through ingestion, contact with the skin and, above all, through inhalation.
Therefore, professions and activities that have direct contact with the substance, such as mining and oil refining, are incidents in cases of contamination.
When in contact with water, it accumulates in the tissues of fish that are part of our diet, and can contaminate those who ingest the food.
Mercury has been the focus of global concern and is considered dangerous due to the negative impacts on health and the environment.
So think carefully before discarding any object in nature!