DOVER-FOXCROFT - Mayo Regional Hospital has become a partner in the "Hospitals for a Healthy Environment" program, a landmark initiative to improve environmental performance in health care. Mayo has agreed to work toward eliminating mercury from the hospital and reducing both the volume and toxicity of waste.
Mayo has already been recognized as one of 13 Maine hospitals that has taken steps to reduce the use of mercury, a toxic pollutant. Mayo has replaced mercury thermometers with non-mercury units for patients, and is also replacing all mercury light bulbs over time.
Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) participants are working toward the virtual elimination of mercury-containing waste from the health care waste stream by the year 2005, and to a reduction in the total volume of all wastes generated -- with an initial goal of achieving a 33% reduction in all hospitals by 2005 and a 50% reduction by 2010.
These goals are part of (H2E), a joint effort by the American Hospital Association, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Nurses Association, and Health Care Without Harm to provide environmental tools and resources to health care professionals. The H2E Partners for Change program recognizes hospitals for improving environmental performance.
"As an H2E partner, Mayo Regional is raising the standard for hospital involvement in pollution prevention issues," said Charlotte Brody, director of Health Care Without Harm, the campaign for environmentally responsible health care. "The leadership at Mayo is to be commended for helping to create a healthier environment for both their patients and their communities."
"Our decision to sign on as a H2E partner is based on the premise that one critical way to promote the health of the community is to protect the environment we all share," said Ralph Gabarro, Mayo's Chief Executive Officer.
H2E grew out of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1998 by the AHA and U.S. EPA to help hospitals address the environmental impacts of health care. Medical facilities can make a major difference by addressing several important issues: by changing purchasing and work practices, by saying "no" to mercury, and by reducing waste and improving waste management practices.
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