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Virginia Joins National Pollution Prevention Program for Health Care Industry

Release Date: 09/16/2004
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Contact: Enesta P. Jones 202-564-7873 /

(09/16/04) EPA announced today that Virginia has become a partner in a national program that educates professionals in the health care industry about waste minimization and pollution prevention in hospitals. "Hospitals for a Healthy Environment" promotes strategies to eliminate mercury use and reduce other medical waste. Virginia is the first state in the mid-Atlantic region to join the Program. The Virginia champions for this Program are Virginia's Department's of Natural Resources, Health and Human Resources, and Environmental Quality, along with the Virginia's Hospital and Healthcare Association, Health Care Waste Management Cooperative and Dental Association, and the University of Virginia's MERCI Foundation. In addition, 72 Virginia hospitals enrolled in the Program today, pledging to eliminate mercury, reduce both hazardous and non-hazardous waste, and implement green activities such as energy-efficient lighting, computers, and televisions. Experts estimate that medical and municipal waste incinerators are responsible for 30 percent of the total mercury emissions to air. "Hospitals for a Healthy Environment" is a joint project of EPA, American Hospital Association, Health Care without Harm, and the American Nurses Association, as well as state and local agencies. More than 800 facilities and organizations have joined "Hospitals for a Healthy Environment" since it started in 1998. For a complete listing of all the partners and more information on "Hospitals for a Healthy Environment," go to: .