Presentation on theme: "HOSPITAL WASTE MANAGEMENT & MERCURY ELIMINATION Presented by Laurie Tenace Florida Department of Environmental Protection (850) 488-0300 at the Florida."— Presentation transcript:
HOSPITAL WASTE MANAGEMENT & MERCURY ELIMINATION Presented by Laurie Tenace Florida Department of Environmental Protection (850) 488-0300 at the Florida Pollution Prevention & Environmental Essentials Conference July 31-August 2, 2002
HOSPITALS FOR A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT Working Together to Create Healthy Communities A partnership between: American Hospital Association U.S. Environmental Protection Agency American Nurses Association Health Care Without Harm
WHY SHOULD HOSPITALS CARE ? Expands and supports mission to improve community health Promotes community trust and confidence Preserves environmental resources Prevents pollution $aves money
WHY ELSE? Hospitals generate 2 millions tons of solid waste annually Medical incinerators are the 4th largest known source of mercury emissions Many PBT’s found in hospitals are suspected to cause health problems Hospitals need to consider actions based on “first, do no harm”
H2E Program H2E goals for hospitals include: Virtually eliminate mercury waste by year 2005 Reduce total waste volume by 33% by year 2005, by 50% by 2010 Identify and reduce PBT chemicals and other hazardous substances in hospitals through pollution prevention and waste reduction The key to success is your involvement!
WHAT CAN MY HOSPITAL GAIN? Decreased Costs from: Increased worker health & safety Better waste segregation Environmentally preferable purchasing
REAL NUMBERS Average 9kg waste per patient day! Jacobi Medical Center cut annual waste management costs by 30% Working with WasteWorks, St. Barnabas Hospital reduced waste volume by 65% and costs by 50% P2 efforts by Staten Island University Hospital reduced waste management costs by $500,000 per year
The 10 Step Program Form a team Assess your facility Establish baseline data Set waste & mercury reduction goals Develop an action plan
The last five steps Kick off the program Educate employees Do the work Track, measure, record progress Celebrate your achievements
WHY MERCURY? What’s the big deal? I used to play with mercury when I was a kid, and I’m OK now…
Mad as a Hatter? Mercury is well know for its toxic effects Methyl mercury is the most toxic form Long term exposure can permanently damage brain, kidneys and developing fetus
Who’s affected? Methyl-Hg pose no health threat to most, but 3 groups are at high risk through ingestion: Pregnant women Nursing infants Young children
WHAT’S UP NATIONALLY? Retail sale ban of mercury thermometers Regional sales bans Labeling Retirement Vs Recycling Laws The U.S. Senate Public Works Committee voted June 27th to approve S 351, a bill that would phase out mercury thermometers except by prescription, and coordinate a plan to manage surplus mercury. Nine states have already banned mercury thermometers. Meanwhile, note that Connecticut recently enacted a ban on most mercury-containing products, exempting only certain lamps and pharmaceuticals - and it looks like Massachusetts is trying to follow suit with a very similar bill. Meanwhile, the courts have upheld a controversial mercury labeling law in Vermont. Details in the last two issues of State Recycling Laws Update.
Where is Mercury in the Hospital? Thermometers Fluorescent lamps Thermostats, batteries
THE BIG ONE The recent New York Times story by Gina Kolata, carried by the Duluth News Tribune, "The Risk Seen in Move to Replace Gauge of Blood Pressure" (June 16) raises the important point that sphygmomanometers, also known as blood pressure cuffs, the measuring devices used to determine blood pressure, cannot provide accurate readings unless they are properly calibrated and maintained.