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(Urging Mercury Elimination)


WHEREAS, Mercury is a heavy liquid metallic chemical compound; and,

WHEAREAS, Elemental mercury and mercury compounds are known to be toxic and hazardous to human health and the environment; and,

WHEREAS, Mercury is a dangerous and persistent pollutant recognized as a bioaccumulative toxin; and,

WHEREAS, Mercury vapor released into the atmosphere is readily absorbed by inhalation and passes through the bloodstream to the central nervous system; and

WHEREAS, Methylmercury (organic) is absorbed by and builds up in the food chain; and,

WHEREAS, All forms of mercury are harmful to human and environmental health; and,

WHEREAS, Effective and appropriate alternatives to mercury-containing products do exist; and,

WHEREAS, The effect of mercury on the central nervous system includes tremors; impaired vision and hearing; paralysis; shyness, insomnia, parathesia, emotional instability; developmental deficits during fetal development, attention deficit, and developmental delays during childhood; and,

WHEREAS, Humans are exposed to mercury through consumption of fish; and,

WHEREAS, Subsistence fish consumption by some U.S. populations indicate that a significant number of persons ingest many times the human "safe dose" of mercury; and,

WHEREAS, Mercury contamination in fish reaches health advisory levels throughout San Francisco Bay; San Francisco residents who consume fish from the Bay are at risk; and San Francisco Bay fish consumers are predominantly low income people of color; and

WHEREAS, Atmospheric deposition of mercury and direct discharge of mercury to water results from human activities and contributes to the mercury loading of the environment; and,

WHEREAS, Mercury loading of the environment is caused by the disposal of mercury-bearing products into sewers, storm drains, and landfills; the demolition of buildings containing mercury; the combustion of mercury-bearing products and fuel; fallout from power plants, oil refineries, and medical waste incinerators; and abandoned gold mines in the Sierra Nevada; and,

WHEREAS, Mercury-bearing products include old alkaline batteries and some button batteries, florescent and high-intensity discharge lamps, thermostats gauges and switches, thermometers, laboratory agents, some lighted athletic shoes, fungicides for seeds and turf, amalgam dental fillings, some oil-based paints, oil latex paints (pre-August 1990), chemistry sets, older toys and games, flame sensors and safety valves, residential furnaces, boilers, boiler controls and car headlights; and,

WHEREAS, The American Hospital Association entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Environmental Protection Agency on January 14, 1998 calling for the virtual elimination of mercury waste by the year 2005, and,

WHEREAS The American Public Health Association has a pending resolution urging all health care facilities to promptly eliminate mercury-containing waste from incinerator feedstock and encourages community-based mercury reduction efforts; and,

WHEREAS, The San Francisco Department of Public Health, related agencies and medical care facilities throughout San Francisco currently use medical products which contain mercury and ultimately generate atmospheric and organic mercury toxins, and,

WHEREAS, Many city-owned and operated buildings contain mercury-bearing products; and,

WHEREAS, Highly effective programs for the virtual elimination of mercury from hospital waste through the use of mercury-free alternative products, pollution prevention strategies and appropriate disposal techniques have been initiated in the United States; and,

WHEREAS, Pollution prevention is widely recognized as the most effective way to protect human and environment health; and,

WHEREAS, The Board of Supervisors endorses pollution prevention as preferable means to protect and preserve human and environment health to a waste management strategy; and,

WHEREAS, Mercury is a threat to public health and the environment and zero exposure is the only strategy that truly protects public health; and

WHEREAS, Mercury pollution affects all residents of San Francisco; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco, by implementation of this resolution, intends to eliminate the use of mercury and mercury pollution caused by the use of mercury products; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco designates as a high priority the restoration of Bay Area human and environmental health by elimination of the use of mercury products and the virtual elimination of mercury emissions from all sources; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco urges all its Departments and Agencies to stabilize and retire from use (without incinerating) any mercury-bearing products currently in use by the City and County of San Francisco; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City and Country of San Francisco; urges all Medical Facilities within San Francisco to eliminate the purchase and use of products containing mercury

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco intend to take further steps to implement this resolution and eliminate mercury. "

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