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Preventative Medicine for the Planet

by The Green A-Team

Is the treatment of medical waste by our hospitals harming us and our planet?

It’s one thing to worry about receiving the best possible care from a hospital when you’re sick but it’s another to worry about becoming sick because of a hospital.

According to the EPA, nearly all medical waste, including used plastic syringes and discarded organs, is incinerated. This dirty disposal releases lethal levels of dioxins and heavy metals into the air contributing to a host of personal and planetary health problems.

While there are some standards for controlling medical waste incineration, one organization has taken matters into their own hands.  Dr. Ted Schettler of Health Care Without Harm:

With so much risk and danger in our daily lives, the hospital is one place we should expect to be safe.  For more on Green health care, try some of the following links to keep you in the know.

Teleosis Institute

Green Guide for Health Care

Practice Green Health

2 Responses to “Preventative Medicine for the Planet”

  • Timothy Barrett Says:

    In fact, incineration of Regulated medical waste has been dramitacally reduced since the 90’s. The information posted on the EPA website is significantly out of date. Steam autclaves have become to equipment of choice for treatment, but are not without their problems. Recent studies have found that the operating parameters used to process the waste are not entirely effective. The result is that untreated waste is being sent to landfills every day, all across the country.

  • Rich Awn Says:

    Very much appreciate the update, Tim! While the EPA released it’s intents to move forward with “flexible rules” to prevent large-scale incineration of med waste in the mid 90s, they have published little about the effects of this policy. From our conversation with Dr. Ted Schettler, it’s clear hospitals are aware of the problem and that steam treatment is helping somewhat. Check back for the full interview this week!

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