WILKES REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER WINS AWARD FOR MAKING MEDICINE MERCURY FREE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tammy G. Love
Director of Marketing & Medical Staff Development
Phone: (336) 651-8116
Health care facility is eliminating use of toxin and improving patient, community, and environmental health.
April 18, 2006, Seattle, WA - Today Wilkes Regional Medical Center received the Making Medicine Mercury Free Award, a prestigious national award given by Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E).
H2E, a non-profit group focused on improving health care's environmental performance, is working to realize the vision of a healthy health care system - a system that embraces safer building products, clean air, energy and water efficiency, safe working practices, and a commitment to public health demonstrated through waste volume and toxicity reduction. Jointly founded by the American Hospital Association, the Environmental Protection Agency, Health Care Without Harm, and the American Nurses Association, H2E educates health care professionals about pollution prevention opportunities, rewards the sector's best performers, and provides a wealth of practical tools and resources to facilitate the industry's movement toward environmental sustainability. The Making Medicine Mercury Free Award is a one-time award given to facilities that have met the challenge of becoming virtually mercury-free. Mercury - a potent neurotoxin and developmental toxin - can impact human health at extremely low levels, and health care facilities can be a major contributor to mercury air emissions. Hospitals that receive this award meet stringent benchmarks for mercury elimination.
Our hospital was able to secure this award by implementing the following programs that would remove mercury from the workplace: Removing all sphygmomanometers containing mercury, replacing all mercury containing thermometers, ensuring that the Lab and Pharmacy used no pharmaceuticals or chemicals containing mercury, and replacing any procedure involving the use of Mercury, with non-mercury products.
"By eliminating mercury, Wilkes Regional Medical Center is taking an important step to protect vulnerable populations like infants, pregnant mothers and young children from the damaging effects of mercury pollution," said Laura Brannen, Director of Hospitals for a Healthy Environment. "Mercury elimination is a no-brainer - mercury is a threat to the health of people and our environment, and safe and effective alternatives are available. Wilkes Regional Medical Center is to be commended for making health care safer and healthier for everyone."
David Church, Wilkes Regional's HAZMAT chair commented that, "We believe that part of our mission to promote the health of our community is to protect the environment we all share. Making our community healthier by replacing mercury devices in our facility with safe and effective alternatives just made sense, and we are proud to be recognized for our efforts."
The leading national force in helping hospitals with environmental improvement, H2E provides practical solutions through a website full of resources, regular teleconferences offering expert help for environmental challenges, and a listserv where colleagues across the country share best practices and strategies for pollution prevention. At CleanMed 2006 (www.cleanmed.org), H2E honors nearly 200 facilities for environmental excellence through its annual awards program. To learn more, visit www.h2e-online.org.