“Health Care Without Harm seeks to transform the health sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it becomes ecologically sustainable and a leading advocate for environmental health and justice.”
Healthcare without Harm was begun in 1996 after the Environmental Protection Agency identified medical waste incineration as the leading source of dioxin, one of the most powerful carcinogens. The mandate of healthcare is healing. Contributing to ill-health directly or indirectly is completely against that mission. Since 1996 Healthcare without Harm has been addressing some of our most pressing issues by educating and working with healthcare systems, healthcare professionals and partners around the world. Amongst some notable successes was reducing the number of medical incinerators from around 4,500 in 1996 to only 73 within ten years. They were also involved in eliminating the use of mercury in medical instruments such as thermometers and sphygmomanometers.
The current key issues that Healthcare without Harm addresses are:
- Global Green and Healthy Hospitals
- Climate Change and Health
- Sustainable Procurement
- Healthcare Waste
- Mercury in Healthcare
- Safer Chemicals
In 2001 Health Care Without Harm partnered with the American Hospital Association, Environmental Protection Agency and the American Nurses Association to create the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) program. The renaming of H2E as Practice Greenhealth better represented its role as a membership and networking organization for healthcare systems.
Embracing and innovating for safer, sustainable workplace and environmental tenets and strategies is fundamental to protecting the whole ecosystem of healthcare-patients, staff and communities.