Pollution Prevention for Healthcare Professionals

Hospitals in the United States generate an average of 6,600 tons of waste a day, 20 percent of which is considered hazardous to human health and the environment. There are many opportunities for hospitals to conserve resources and prevent pollution in order to create healthier spaces that enhance healing.

From 2006 to 2008, we managed a health care pollution prevention project through a grant from the EPA. During the course of the two-year project, we organized several workshops to educate local hospital staff on health care-specific environmental issues and facilitated discussions between health care professionals.

In addition to developing a forum to share information, we also conducted several pollution prevention pilot projects at local hospitals. Some examples include:

  1. Developing a pharmaceutical waste fact sheet
  2. Organizing a nurse's conference for SF General Hospital staff
  3. Completing a janitorial and pesticide product assessment at UCSF
  4. Creating a system to segregate and capture pharmaceutical waste at Laguna Honda Hospital.

The Northern California chapter of Practice Green Health was then launched with the same mission; therefore we no longer facilitate this forum. We encourage all health care professionals to become actively involved in this initiative.

Additional Information for Healthcare

Physicians for Social Responsibility-Bay Area
is a nonprofit educational organization, combines the power of concerned and active citizens with the knowledge and credibility of physicians and other health professionals to promote public policies.
Physicians for Social Responsibility-National
is the largest physician-led organization in the US working to prevent nuclear war and proliferation and to slow, stop and reverse global warming and toxic degradation of the environment.
Practice Green Health
is the source for environmental solutions for the healthcare sector and lends support to create better, safer, greener workplaces and communities.