Children and developing babies are most vulnerable. (Christian Bowen)
Each of us is exposed to a complex mixture of industrial chemicals that can threaten our health and the health of future generations. The manufacture, use, and disposal of products containing toxic chemicals are responsible for the global contamination. People from nearly all nations suffer an epidemic of chronic diseases that have strong links to environmental factors, including exposures to hazardous chemicals commonly found in products. Health care is a significant contributor to the problem but this contamination is not inevitable and reveals an opportunity for health care to engage in solutions.
Hospitals are choosing safer products, reducing hazardous chemical use, and adopting safer practices in all areas of health care including pesticides, lab chemicals, conventional cleaners and disinfectants, medical devices, furniture, building materials, flooring, and more.
Creating a healthy materials economy
When hospitals exercise their social and economic influence by purchasing safer products, relying on health as a driver in decision-making, and advocating for health-protective policies, they can impact the long-term public and environmental health of their communities and the broader society.
Health care makes up almost 20% of the economy with hospitals acting as anchor institutions in nearly every community in the country. The sector employs close to one-tenth of the nation’s workers.
Our Safer Chemicals program harnesses the purchasing power, expertise, and voice of the health care sector to move the market toward environmentally safer products and technologies and pushes the leading edge of innovation through market campaigning.
Through our integrated architecture of collaborating hospitals, nonprofits, and health organizations, we scale our initiatives and work together toward our vision of sustainable health care – one in which health is the primary driver.