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Sat Jun 11, 2016, 10:02 PM

Environmental and health impacts of U.S. healthcare system

[font face=Serif][font size=5]Environmental and health impacts of U.S. healthcare system[/font]

By Ziba Kashef
June 9, 2016

[font size=3]If the U.S. healthcare system were a country, it would rank 13th in the world for greenhouse gas emissions, according to new research. The study, published June 9 in PLOS ONE, quantified previously unreported environmental and public health impacts of the nation’s healthcare sector.

To investigate the impacts, Yale’s Dr. Jodi Sherman, and first author Matthew Eckelman of Northeastern University first used an economic model based on federal data to calculate total emissions of different pollutants produced by the healthcare sector over a 10-year period, drawing on national health expenditure data. They analyzed direct emissions from hospitals and clinician’s offices, as well as indirect emissions generated by the sector’s suppliers of energy, goods, and services.

The researchers then linked the healthcare-related emissions to specific environmental and health outcomes, including global warming; ozone depletion; respiratory disease from air pollutants; cancer from chemical exposure; and the environmental effects of acid rain, among others.

Among their findings, the researchers estimated that greenhouse gas emissions from the healthcare sector grew 30% over the past decade, accounting for 9.8% of the national total in 2013. Were it a country, the sector would rank “ahead of the entire United Kingdom” in emissions, said Sherman.


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Reply Environmental and health impacts of U.S. healthcare system (Original post)
OKIsItJustMe Jun 2016 OP
Wilms Jun 2016 #1

Response to OKIsItJustMe (Original post)

Sat Jun 11, 2016, 10:14 PM

1. From the linked paper...


The World Health Organization notes the health sector, itself, can reap gains from rapid and early adoption of mitigation strategies that improve access to renewable energy, through environmentally friendly operational and building solutions[43].

In the U.S., the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) (http://healthierhospitals.org/) is a national campaign launched in 2012 to improve environmental health and sustainability in the health care sector. The HHI was organized with Health Care Without Harm, Practice Greenhealth, and The Center for Health Design, and offers tools and resources developed from the Green Guide for Healthcare. The HHI already engages 1,200+ U.S. hospitals actively seeking guidance on the transition to more sustainable operations.

The American Hospitals Association also provides a Sustainability Roadmap (http://www.sustainabilityroadmap.org/.) Both offer recommendations to improve the environmental footprint of key areas that reduce both direct on-site and indirect supply chain emissions, including cleaner and more efficient energy use, water conservation, waste reduction, environmentally preferable supply chain management, safer cleaning chemicals, and healthier foods.

The Coalition for Sustainable Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices is seeking to develop manufacturing standards for best practices and reporting transparency, guided by life cycle assessment (http://www.sduhealth.org.uk/areas-of-focus/carbon-hotspots/pharmaceuticals/cspm.aspx).

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