Safer Chemicals - Sustainability Initiatives
The University of Maryland Medical Center takes the health of its patients, visitors, and staff very seriously. In keeping with the new product request, Sustainability, and Green Cleaning Policies, all chemicals that are brought into the Medical Center must go through a stringent review and approval process to ensure they do not pose a significant physical, health, or environmental hazard.
*Due to their inherent toxicity, the following chemicals of note have either been completely eliminated or are targeted to be greatly reduced by replacement of safer alternatives:
- Mercury - a neurological toxin
- Bisphenol-A (BPA)- endocrine disruptor
- Phthalates (e.g. plasticizers, DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate) - concern for reproductive toxicity in neonates, infants, and children
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) - dioxin, a known human carcinogen, can be formed during manufacturing and incineration of PVC products.
- Chemicals listed under California’s Proposition 65
The University of Maryland Medical Center, in partnership with the Maryland Pesticide network, has implemented an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system for pest control. IPM is a best management practice that involves treating pest problems or potential problems with a comprehensive approach using mainly non-pesticide preventive interventions.
In the few cases where pesticides are warranted, the most environmentally friendly versions are used. Negative health effects of pesticide exposure will depend on the type of pesticides but can include effects on the nervous system, the endocrine system, irritants of the eyes and skin, and some cases may even be cancer causing. As with many chemicals, the health risks increase with exposure time and frequency.