By Helaine Alon
It’s surprising, but according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends 90 percent of their time indoors. And indoor air pollution can be two-to-five times worse than outside, leading to negative health outcomes. In response to this threat, Health Care Without Harm developed model environmental purchasing criteria to improve indoor air quality in hospitals and to protect the health of patients, staff, and visitors. Those criteria are starting to be adopted by other sectors, extending Health Care Without Harm’s reach and influence.
Working closely with Practice Greenhealth, Health Care Without Harm seeks to transform the health sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it becomes ecologically sustainable and a leading advocate for environmental health and justice. Our commitment to protect the environment and human health extends outside the walls of health care, to include the effects of product manufacturing and disposal.
As Health Care Without Harm's furnishings criteria were successfully adopted in health care, other sectors, including the private sector, higher education, and local and state governments, took notice and incorporated them into their purchasing specifications and guidelines, increasing the potential market impact.