The Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — The American Academy of Pediatrics says doctors and parents should stop using mercury thermometers, a once-ubiquitous household item that is already on its way to the medical junkyard.
Alternatives such as digital thermometers are widely available.
If mercury thermometers are broken, the vapors can be absorbed by the body. In addition, burning and other inadequate disposal of the thermometers can release mercury into streams.
Long-term exposure to mercury can cause neurological damage in children. Mercury-contaminated fish can cause fetal damage if eaten by pregnant women.
The academys recommendation was reported in the July issue of its journal, Pediatrics.
|on the webEPA on thermometers|
cities and hospitals have banned mercury thermometers and some major store chains have stopped selling them, but theres a lot of them in medicine cabinets, said Alexis Cain, a scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency. Having a doctors group say we can do without this is helpful.
But he said parents should take their mercury thermometers to a hazardous-waste collection center instead of throwing them in the trash.
Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.