Health care is a big contributor to the nation’s solid waste stream. Fortunately, doctors are getting wise and many have implemented waste reduction programs. As one Berkeley, CA clinic has proven, a few simple and inexpensive changes can eliminate a LOT of waste.
Working with hospitals and clinics throughout the country, Hospitals for a Healthy Environment has made major progress in reducing the level of mercury pollution coming from the health care industry.
For many families, back-to-school season means confrontations with pesky head lice. Unfortunately, many of the products commonly used to rid children of lice contain lindane or other highly toxic pesticides. A look at less-toxic alternatives.
In aggregate, the nation's hospitals generate roughly 6,600 tons of garbage each day. Add to that, the trash from hundreds of thousands of individual physician practices, and you have a major waste management challenge. Janet Brown, Medical Waste Manager for New York City's Beth Israel Medical Center shares tips that will help cut waste and save money.
Physicians and medical clinics can save a lot of money and reduce their negative environmental impact by negotiating more carefully with their waste haulers.
Medical practitioners seldom consider where the materials they use in daily practice come from or where they go once discarded. But it is important to realize that many disposable medical devices contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which gives off dioxin when produced and when incinerated. Likewise, mercury in devices like thermometers easily ends up as an environmental toxin. Tips on reducing PVC and mercury in the medical waste stream.
The rapid evolution of computer and communication technology has created a glut of tech trash. Janet Brown offers tips on what to do with those old computers, cell phones, and other outmoded electronic paperweights.
If a chemical has a warning label on it, you need to be very careful about how it is used and disposed of, especially in health care clinics, where solvents, cleaning products, mercury containing substances, and a host of toxic chemicals are used routinely. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has guidelines for handling most of the chemicals used in health care settings.
The number of chronic disease patients who must treat themselves at home is rising rapidly, meaning that there are more needles, syringes, and blood and body fluid contaminants and other medical waste in ordinary household garbage.
Glutaraldehyde and other chemical disinfectants widely used for cleaning medical equipment are toxic, and need to be used very carefully. A guide to reducing the risks associated with common medical disinfectants.