Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
Hospitals for a Healthy Environment is a private-public partnership sponsored by the American Hospital Association (AHA), American Nurses Association, Health Care Without Harm, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The goal of the program is to eliminate mercury from the health care waste stream by 2005 and reduce the total volume of all types of waste generated in hospitals and health systems by one third by 2005 and by half by 2010.
The Hospitals for a Healthy Environment Web site has an extensive set of P2 resources, a calendar of events, video and display ordering, and information on how hospitals can pledge to become a Hospital for a Healthy Environment. It contains the Memorandum of understanding, that was signed by AHA and EPA on June 24, 1998.
Landmark Partnership Unveils New Tools, Resources for Health Care Providers (News Release): On December 19, 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association and Health Care Withou Harm launched a joint website and announced plans to ramp up efforts to improve environmental performance in health care.
In late June 2001, AHA and EPA entered a new phase of Healthy Environment Program. The American Hospital Association (AHA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reaffirmed their commitment to, and kicked off the next phase of their Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) program.
The next phase will include:
- Spreading the word to hospitals and health care leaders about the goals of the partnership
- Disseminating tools and resources to help accomplish these goals
- Creating an awards program that will recognize successful local efforts to eliminate mercury and reduce hospital waste
- Promoting a pledge program for hospitals committed to the goals of the partnership
- Sponsoring education efforts through AHA professional societies
A PDF file of the entire press release (6 KB) is available.
A PDF file of the fact sheet on the H2E effort (33 KB) is available.
Other useful websites on Health Care efforts to reduce it environmental impacts include:
Mercury Use Reduction and Waste Prevention in Medical Facilities
This EPA web site was developed by Purdue University and the US EPA and includes software designed to assist medical professionals reduce the use of mercury in hospitals. At this site you can tour a virtual hospital to learn about mercury presence by room type, view lists of alternative mercury-free products, read case studies of success stories, and download guidelines to preventing mercury pollution at your facility.
Waste - Office of Solid Waste
This EPA web site by the Office of Solid Waste includes an extensive frequently asked questions on medical waste. There is a separate section on a variety of reference documents including the Medical Waste Tracking Act (MWTA) of 1989, draft guidance on evaluating Medical Waste Treatment Technologies, and various documents on Medical Waste Treatment Technologies. Since Medical Waste disposal is regulated at the state level, they provide links to the individual State Laws and Regulations.
Health Care without Harm
Health Care Without Harm is a collaborative campaign for environmentally responsible health care made up of more than 250 organizations. Their mission is to transform the health care industry so it is no longer a source of environmental harm by eliminating pollution in health care practices without compromising safety or care. The home page for the Health Care Without Harm campaign provides links, resources, and
contact information on reducing the environmental impact of health care.
The Campaign for a Mercury Free NIH seeks to eliminate the use of mercury in the NIH facilities. They are working towards the use of safer alternatives in biomedical research, increase general awareness of mercury hazards, and prevent mercury pollution.
Medical Academic Scientific Community
The Medical Academic Scientific Community Organization (MASCO), through a grant from the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance, has established an online database where you can look for information about trace mercury content and add information on products you've tested.
This page will link you to all the documents from the MWRA/MASCO hospital mercury workgroup is a collaboration between hospitals and the Boston water treatment facility. The work resulted in an 84% decrease in mercury discharge from hospitals. Documents available include an Infrastructure Maintenance Guidebook, reports on mercury loadings from hospitals and end-of-pipe treatment technologies.
The database can be a useful starting point for considering mercury content of products [select the "Mercury Products Database"]
Hospitals Project of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production
The Sustainable Hospitals Project provides health care personnel with tools, training, and technical support to improve the environmental practices of hospitals. Their website lists alternatives to mercury, latex, and PVC healthcare products, as well as a wealth of other useful information. The project is organized by The Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, and draws on the resources and expertise of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, including the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) and the Department of Work Environment.
Health Care Environmentally
Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Network Information Exchange Bulletin
This bi-monthly newsletter provides updates on health care environmental purchasing innovations from across the country.
Healthcare Environet is a network of healthcare and environmental organizations committed to the promotion of sustainable development in healthcare. The Environet was established in consultation and partnership with healthcare and non-government organizations with funding from Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy.
The Environmental Working Group has created a report "Greening Hospitals Report" and read a press release on the report titled "Hospitals Need Green Overhaul, Survey Finds."
Mercury Pollution Prevention in Healthcare
This guide, Mercury Pollution Prevention in Healthcare: A Prescription for Success, is intended to offer guidance to hospitals that are striving to become mercury-free. It was created by the National Wildlife Federation. It is intended to help healthcare workers and citizens eliminate mercury from hospitals, doctors offices and other healthcare facilities. It provides guidance to hospitals on becoming mercury-free, case studies of mercury reduction at hospitals, and a resource list.
Hard copies can be obtained from: National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Natural Resource Center 506 E. Liberty, 2nd Floor Ann Arbor MI 48104-2210 Tel. (734) 769-3351
Association P2 Kit
The ANA created a Pollution Prevention Kit for Nurses which is designed to assist nurses to become active in reducing the toxic pollution created as a health care industry byproduct. The kit is filled with resources to involve nurses in their own work site and community.