The Time is Now to Digitize Those Thermometers

CHICAGO-Officials from the American Academy of Pediatrics are asking doctors and parents to join the wave of technology that has brought thermometers from dangerous to digitized.

Mercury thermometers should no longer be used, they say, because the mercury poses a threat to children and the environment. Instead, digital thermometers should be used.

Mercury, when found in streams, can poison fish. If fish contaminated by mercury are eaten by pregnant women, the chemical can cause fetal damage. Women who are expecting are now warned about eating fish when pregnant because of the risk.

The chemical also causes neurological damage in children.

While many hospitals and store chains have banned mercury thermometers, the academy worries that many are still found in medicine cabinets. Parents are being asked to take these thermometers to a hazardous-waste collection center and invest in a digital device.