The health care sector is now 18% of the economy and one of the largest users of chemicals. That’s why greening the sector is so important, and a priority activity of the Ecology Center.

 

Safer Materials for Health Care

Our goal is to make all of the products used in health care safe for people and the planet, and to leverage health care's purchasing power to make the entire material economy safer. Our most recent work focuses on three main areas: safer furnishings, safer cleaners and greener medical devices.  We've joined forces with the Healthier Hospitals Initiative to help develop and support the Safer Chemicals Challenge, part of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI).  More than 2000 hospitals have joined HHI, and more than 250 hospitals have committed tothe reduce toxic chemicals in products used in their hospitals. Stay tuned for the Healthier Hospitals Initiative v. 2.0 in late 2015.

 

Better Furniture is Available

Furniture used in health care can offgas or leach toxic chemicals into the hospital environment.  Chemicals like halogenated flame retardants and formaldehyde have been measured in hospital environments.  That's why we've teamed up with Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth to help hospitals identify furniture without some of the worst toxic chemicals.  You can see the lists of furniture without hazardous flame retardants, perfluorinated chemicals, formaldehyde and PVC here. And five major health systems recently announced that they will purchase furnishings without added flame retardants representing more than $80 million dollars in purchasing! Priorities in 2015 include extending the number of furniture and hospital furnishing manufacturers participating in the initiative.  Stay tuned!

 

Greener Medical Devices

One of the highest volume medical devices used in health care is IV bags. IV bags are often made of PVC or vinyl, a 'worst in class' plastic with significant life cycle impacts.  PVC medical devices are also made flexible with the addition of chemical additives called phthalates, with health impacts of their own.  Studies have raised concerns about the leaching of phthalates from medical devices, particularly for neonates that may have multiple medical procedures with phthalate-containing medical devices.  You can read more about the issue, and our work to promote the development and adoption of alternatives here.

Published on January 26, 2017

News

October 26, 2017
News
The Healthy Stuff team has been working on researching phthalates (THAL-eights), a plasticizer and solvent. We found that almost all the cheese products we tested were contaminated with phthalates, a hormone disruptor.
September 28, 2017
Press Release
The Ecology Center, in partnership with the Car Seat Detox Challenge Campaign and the Learning Disabilities Association of America, delivered over 40,000 signatures to Laurel Hurd, President of Graco Children’s Products and CEO of Global Baby Division at Newell Brands, calling...
July 27, 2017
News
On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, food service directors and members of the Michigan Farm to Institution Network (MFIN) gathered for a Cultivate Michigan dry bean tour at the Frankenmuth Farmers Market.
July 25, 2017
News
Recent findings released by the Ecology Center, however, reveal that the dry powdered cheese mixes in those boxes have on average four times the amount of phthalates (thal-eights) than block cheese and other unprocessed cheeses.
July 25, 2017
News
The Detroit trash incinerator, one of the largest in the world, is a prime example of environmental racism. Here is a facility that pumps out carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and particulate matter daily, and has violated the Clean Air Act 379 times since 2015.
Mac and Cheese in bowl
July 13, 2017
Press Release
Laboratory testing, commissioned by the Ecology Center, of 10 varieties of macaroni and cheese products has revealed phthalates, a toxic hormone-disrupting class of chemicals, in the cheese powders of all the boxed macaroni and cheese tested.