Cleaners and Pesticides

The Issue

Despite their role as places of healing, health care institutions use a number of highly toxic chemicals on their premises, including pesticides, cleaners and disinfectants, and fragrance chemicals. As these chemicals vaporize, they contribute to poor indoor air quality, which has been identified as one of the top environmental risks to public health.

Patients are particularly vulnerable to indoor air quality threats, since many have compromised respiratory, neurological, or immunological systems and/or increased chemical sensitivities. The U.S. Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO) also has expressed concern over the growing number of respiratory problems among health care workers.

The good news is that health care facilities can manage pests and provide a clean and sanitary environment without the use of toxic chemicals.

Health Care Without Harm is working with hospitals to choose safer cleaning products and less toxic disinfection methods, and to adopt integrated pest management and fragrance-free policies that improve indoor air quality and promote health.