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Bay Area health care industry leaders earn top national awards
Release Date: 4/19/2005
Contact Information: Laura Gentile, 415/947-4227 or 415/760-9161 (cell)
SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently honored seven health care
organizations in the Bay Area as part of a national program to promote pollution prevention
Last week the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment Program -- H2E -- announced its annual Environmental
Leadership, Champions for Change, Partners for Change and Making Medicine Mercury Free awards. Nearly
one quarter of the 60 award winners nationwide are from California and Hawaii.
The U.S. EPA, American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association and Health Care Without
Harm have joined forces to eliminate the use of mercury, to cut health care waste, and to phase out the use of
hazardous substances and persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic chemicals.
"We applaud the leadership efforts of these health care facilities in thinking of new and fresh ways to reduce
their mercury and other waste," said Jeff Scott, director of the waste division for the EPA's Pacific Southwest
office. "This innovative work to prevent pollution generated by hospitals will make hospital environments
healthier and may very well prevent hospital visits in the first place."
The Environmental Leadership Award is the premiere national recognition for outstanding achievement in
environmental innovation in health care. The Environmental Leadership Award and the Making Medicine
Mercury Free Award were presented to the following Bay area facilities:
*Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, Calf.
A deep commitment to recycling and ongoing waste reduction education programs earned Alta Bates this
honor. This year, the center recycled 757 tons of mixed paper, co-mingled cans and bottles, and over 50
percent of construction and demolition materials. An equipment reuse program netted the facility $53,500, and
included 10 truckloads of equipment donated to international relief programs and the auctioning of old
equipment that would otherwise be disposed.
*H2E's Champions for Change Awards honor groups that take a leadership role in promoting H2E goals to their
members, and whose members have implemented programs in support of these goals. The Champions for
Change Award was presented to the following groups in California:
*California Department of Health Services Hospital Pollution Prevention Program in Berkeley, Calif.
California DHS has coordinated with other departments and the California Healthcare Association to provide
local training, on-site assistance, and recognition to hospitals reaching the national H2E goals. Activities in
2004 include expanding mercury reduction efforts to include clinics and medical offices, promoting
reprocessing of single use medical devices, and working to keep pharmaceutical waste out of wastewater.
*Catholic Healthcare West in San Francisco, Calif.
Catholic Healthcare West has achieved system-wide progress toward H2E's goals by instituting a mercury-free
purchasing policy, reducing overall waste by 9 percent in 2004, decreasing energy use by 7 percent and
hazardous waste generation by 23 percent, despite growth in facilities. CHW environmental improvement
projects include such innovative programs as the cultivation of organic gardens, composting of food waste, and
use of biodiesel fuel.
In addition to honoring these environmental leaders in the health care industry, H2E presented 11 health care
institutions in California with the Partners for Change Award and Making Medicine Mercury Free Award.
These awards honor institutions that are eliminationg mercury, reducing waste and use of toxic products and
practicing environmentally preferable purchasing.
Partners for Change Award winners included Kaiser Permanente's Oakland, Richmond and Roseville Medical Centers.
Making Medicine Mercury Free award winners included Gilroy's Saint Louise Regional Hospital.
For more information on the Healthy Hospitals for the Environment visit www.h2e-online.org.