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EPA awards mercury reduction grant to UTPA
By Melissa Vasquez, Senior Editor
381-3639
Posted: 07/18/2003
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More than 1,200 mercury-containing devices on the campus of The University of Texas-Pan American will be replaced thanks to a recent grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA Pollution Prevention Mercury Reduction Grant will be used to replace mercury-containing devices at the Student Health Services Building, Department of Nursing and in the research laboratories on campus.


UTPA Image
Above, Richard Costello (right), director of Environmental Health and Safety at UTPA, hands over new non-mercury containing devices to Rick Gray (left), director of Student Health Services. More than 1,200 mercury-containing devices at UTPA will be replaced thanks to a recent grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"The replacement of mercury thermometers will reduce potential exposure to mercury to our faculty and students, as well as to the environment,” said Richard Costello, director of Environmental Health and Safety. “The selection was based on the need and demonstration by the University that we were an environmentally conscious university.”

The submission of the grant was a joint proposal between four UT System institutions, including UTPA, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. EPA awarded the institutions a total of $51,385 with UTPA receiving more than $10,000.

“Each of the 15 schools in the UT System were provided an opportunity to apply for the grant,” Costello said. “The applications were put together and submitted by the UT System. It was felt that there was a greater chance of obtaining the grant money if they were all combined.”

He said 1,290 mercury-containing thermometers and 15 mercury- containing sphygmomanometers in the laboratory and clinical settings will be replaced with non-mercury containing devices – such as alcohol thermometers or digital or vacuum based sphygmomanometers.

Costello said the grant would establish UTPA as an environmentally conscious steward of the environment.

Other UTPA staff and faculty who assisted in the grant proposal, included Rick Gray, Student Health Services; Mary Evans, Department of Nursing; Dr. Mohammed Farooqui, Department of Biology; Dr. Phillip DeLassus, Department of Chemistry; Dr. Muhammad Bhatti, Department of Physics and Geology; and David Novak, Department of Engineering.

“The application for and receipt of this grant is an example of Mr. (James R.) Langabeer’s (vice president for Business Affairs) and the Division of Business Affairs’ commitment to providing the best customer service we can to our colleagues in the Division of Academic Affairs,” said Costello.

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