of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff
5 , 2000
Jody Oesterreicher, (312(0996-8277, firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLECTS MERCURY THERMOMETERS FROM STUDENTS, STAFF
is holding the nation's first campus-wide mercury thermometer exchange
to protect the health of faculty, staff, students and their families
and the environment from the accidental release of mercury from broken
thermometers. In exchange for household fever thermometers, UIC will
provide digital thermometers free-of-charge.
is toxic to humans and wildlife. Mercury affects the human brain, spinal
cord, kidneys and liver. Spilled mercury evaporates unless properly
cleaned up. It is released when a thermometer breaks and can pose risks
to household members even at very low levels of exposure. Each mercury
fever thermometer contains about 1 to 1.5 grams of mercury.
Sept. 13, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 14, 7 - 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
- 2 p.m.; and Friday, Sept. 15, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Medical Sciences Building, 835 S. Wolcott St., first floor lobby
A coalition of
UIC organizations including the Environmental Health and Safety Office,
Green Campus Council, Sustainable Hospital Project in the School of
Public Health, UICycle Program, and University Health Service are
sponsoring the mercury thermometer exchange. UIC will provide one
digital thermometer per household while supplies last.
should be brought to UIC in their hard plastic cases to prevent breakage.
If no case is available, thermometers can be placed in a clean, empty,
plastic pop bottle with a screw-on lid, tightly capped. The case or
bottle can be placed in a plastic bag for extra security.
A private foundation
is funding the thermometer exchange, and Health Care Without Harm,
a coalition of more than 200 organizations including hospitals, environmental
groups and labor unions, is supporting the effort. The Illinois Environmental
Protection Agency has arranged for the collected thermometers to be
transported to a mercury recycling facility for the safe recovery
of the mercury.
San Francisco, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Duluth, Minn., have banned the
sale of glass mercury thermometers. Large retail chains including
K-Mart, Rite Aid and Albertson's have stopped selling the devices.
Health Care Without Harm has spearheaded the campaign to rid the nation
of mercury thermometers.
Sederstrom, Sustainable Hospital Project, (312) 355-1877