March 09, 2018
According to the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, Safer Chemicals, Accessed Oct 25, 2012, "more chemicals are used in health care than in any other sector."
Additionally, recent data indicates that health care is the industry most frequently recognized among confirmed cases of work-related asthma, with the top causative agents being cleaning products and poor indoor air quality (from the Massachusetts Nurses Association. "Exposure to environmental cleaning chemicals in healthcare settings." Accessed Oct 26, 2012.)
Many cleaning and disinfecting products contain volatile organic compounds such as alkylphenol ethoxylates, quarternary ammonium chlorides and ethylene glycol ethers, all of which cause a variety of symptoms, including skin rashes, eye and skin burns, coughing and wheezing, asthma, shortness of breath, headaches, and/or dizziness. Employees must be trained on the hazards of the chemicals they use or encounter on the job.
Consider switching to sustainable cleaning products in your practice. It is not only helpful to the environment, but the switch will also help reduce your employees' exposure to harmful chemicals that may cause damage to their health.
It's the right thing to do.
Before buying sustainable cleaning products for your office, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you consider these tips*:
Evaluate the performance, price, availability, regulatory requirements, and environmental impact to determine the best overall value for your organization.
Be cautious about marketing claims such as "green," "eco safe," and "environmentally friendly." Ask product manufacturers and vendors to clearly and specifically define their green claims. In addition, ask manufacturers if they've conducted life cycle studies on their products.
Look for environmental attributes in the product, such as: - Minimal presence of or exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, such as corrosive or strongly irritating substances, carcinogens, ozone-depleting compounds, and volatile organic compounds - Reduced and/or recyclable packaging and recycled content in packaging - Reduced bio concentration factor and flammability - Reduced or no added dyes (except when added for safety), fragrances, or skin irritants - Usable in cold water to conserve energy - Use of renewable resources
In addition, consider purchasing products** that:
Carry the EPA's "Design for the Environment" label (see the list of products HERE).
Are certified as "green" by third-party independent organizations, such as Green Seal (www.greenseal.org), EcoLogo (www.ecologo.org),and GreenGuard (http://greenguard.org)
Here are some additional, practical tips for "Going Green" in the workplace:
Use rubber flooring that does not require waxing or stripping
Reduce the number of cleaning products used by using multi-surface cleaners
Implement high-filtration HEPA vacuums
Add walk-off mats positioned inside and outside entryways
Use hands-free mops
Use microfiber mops, cloths, and dusters
Purchase concentrated cleaning products to reduce packaging waste and maybe even transportation costs
Explore alternatives to pesticides, such as integrated pest management (removal of entryways and attractions to reduce the possibility that pests may enter the building)
Purchase fragrance-free products (fragrances often cause respiratory problems for workers and patients) DoctorsManagement's PowerBuying division can help your office go green, and locate these environmentally friendly products for your office. In addition, PowerBuying can also assist in helping your organization save money on supplies, equipment, malpractice insurance, pharmaceuticals, document destruction, medical waste removal, and much more.
For more information about these or additional offerings, call Craig King at 800.635.4040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.
This Week's Audit Tip Written By: Ann Bachman, CLC (AMT), MT (ASCP) BS MT(ASCP), CCCP, CHOP, CMPM Ann is a Partner and Director of CLIA Compliance for our parent organization, DoctorsManagement. Ann is also the Founder and Executive Director of American Association of Physician Offices and Laboratories (AAPOL) www.namas.co