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Improving Air Quality in Your Community

Indoor Air: Hospitals

You can help hospitals reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) that may affect employees, patients, their families, and the community by conducting the following activities:


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Make Connections

      How?
  • Get to know local hospital administrators. They know best about the materials and procedures used in their hospitals and the regulations with which they must comply.
  • Keep local media aware of progress by sending them updates. Publicity can reward success and attract more public involvement.
      Benefits
  • Increases awareness of pollution prevention needs within hospitals.
  • Increases public awareness about progress in reducing air pollution in hospitals.
      Costs
  • Time required to meet with hospital administrators.

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Encourage Hospitals to Implement a Mercury Reduction Plan

      How?
  • Encourage hospitals to develop a mercury housekeeping program. This program provides specific direction on all aspects of mercury management, including:
    • How to handle mercury.
    • How to conduct a mercury audit.
    • How to track mercury use.
    • How to clean up mercury spills.
    • How to properly dispose of mercury.
  • Provide information about the costs and benefits related to reducing mercury usage within hospitals.
      Benefits
  • Reduces mercury emissions within hospitals due to proper mercury management.
  • Reduces or eliminates mercury usage within hospitals.
  • In one survey, 60% of respondents had implemented a mercury management policy (Hospitals for a Healthy Environment).
      Costs
  • Time required to meet develop a mercury housekeeping program.
      More Information

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Develop Pollution Prevention Certification

      How?
  • Help hospitals work with societies such as the American Hospital Association to sponsor a certification for those who actively reduce air emissions.
      Benefits
  • Tangible evidence that a hospital is striving to reduce air emissions through pollution prevention.
      Costs
  • Time involved in working with societies.
      More Information

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Encourage a "Top Down" Pollution Prevention Approach for Mercury Reduction

      How?
  • Develop a training and communication program aimed at increasing general awareness of mercury health impacts.
  • Train employees to look for ways to reduce mercury pollution.
  • Develop and implement a protocol to prevent hospital employees from disposing of mercury in sharps, infectious, or any other waste containers.
      Benefits
  • Reduces risk from air emissions due to system-wide pollution prevention measures.
      Costs
  • Time associated with working with hospitals to implement system-wide pollution prevention measures.
      More Information

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Help Hospitals Raise Mercury Awareness in the Surrounding Community

      How?
  • Alternatives to mercury thermometers include electronic, infrared, chemical strip, gallium, indium, and tin thermometers.
  • Mercury blood pressure cuffs can be replaced by aneroid and electronic blood pressure cuffs.
  • Use gastrointestinal tubes weighted with tungsten or water instead of mercury.
  • Replace mercury pharmaceutical products with mercury-free preservatives.
  • Identify why mercury is present as an active ingredient in laboratory chemicals. It may be possible to identify a mercury-free alternative.
  • Insist on mercury disclosures of all incoming products to the hospital.
  • Insist on using recovered and recycled mercury in all products that do not yet have mercury-free alternatives.
      Benefits
  • Reduces risk of mercury exposure to citizens within the community.
  • Positive promotion of hospitals as partners within the community.
      Costs
  • Costs associated with providing promotional materials.
      More Information

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