Global Climate Change and Children’s Health

Read the full story in Pediatrics.

There is broad scientific consensus that Earth’s climate is warming rapidly and at an accelerating rate. Human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, are very likely (>90% probability) to be the main cause of this warming. Climate-sensitive changes in ecosystems are already being observed, and fundamental, potentially irreversible, ecological changes may occur in the coming decades. Conservative environmental estimates of the impact of climate changes that are already in process indicate that they will result in numerous health effects to children. The nature and extent of these changes will be greatly affected by actions taken or not taken now at the global level.

Physicians have written on the projected effects of climate change on public health, but little has been written specifically on anticipated effects of climate change on children’s health. Children represent a particularly vulnerable group that is likely to suffer disproportionately from both direct and indirect adverse health effects of climate change. Pediatric health care professionals should understand these threats, anticipate their effects on children’s health, and participate as children’s advocates for strong mitigation and adaptation strategies now. Any solutions that address climate change must be developed within the context of overall sustainability (the use of resources by the current generation to meet current needs while ensuring that future generations will be able to meet their needs). Pediatric health care professionals can be leaders in a move away from a traditional focus on disease prevention to a broad, integrated focus on sustainability as synonymous with health.

This policy statement is supported by a technical report that examines in some depth the nature of the problem of climate change, likely effects on children’s health as a result of climate change, and the critical importance of responding promptly and aggressively to reduce activities that are contributing to this change.

Tech Helping Medical Devices Go Green

Read the full post at Marketing:Green.

Even if we’re loathe to admit that climate change is a thing, it makes sense for those who use the most energy to do what they can to keep their carbon footprint in check, which puts the medical industry right up near the top of the list.

According to Healthcare Design Magazine, “Each year healthcare systems spend more than $8 billion on energy, making them one of the largest consumers of energy among U.S. institutions.” And yet, the piece continues, “most healthcare systems have been slow to reduce energy related to their equipment needs. From CT scanners to heart monitors, medical machines account for 18 percent of hospitals’ total energy use. The more doctors rely on sophisticated equipment to help patients, the more a hospital’s energy use goes up.”

As our lives become more immersed in technology, that sophisticated equipment is not likely to decrease. Luckily, there are companies dedicated to providing green options to the medical industry.

Here are just a few ways technology is helping medicine go green:

Health Care Facilities’ Waste Management Practices Subject to Big Changes Under Proposed Rule

Read the full story in the National Law Review.

On September 25, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule altering the regulatory regime governing the handling and disposal of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals generated at healthcare facilities and managed at pharmaceutical reverse distributors. The proposal is intended to simplify the regulatory burden of complying with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s (RCRA) cradle-to-grave management of hazardous wastes at healthcare facilities by providing an industry-specific approach to hazardous waste regulations that takes into account the realities of waste management within the industry. Currently, facilities that generate, ship, store, or dispose of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals must comply with all of the requirement of RCRA Subtitle C.

Fact sheet: Energy Efficiency and Health

Download the document.

Lowering the amount of energy we waste reduces our need to burn coal and other fossil fuels to generate electricity. Those reductions in pollution mean big gains for health, as pollutants from fossil fuel combustion contribute to four of the leading causes of death in the United States: cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, heart disease, and stroke. Energy efficiency benefits health. For more information on the link between energy efficiency and health, download this joint fact sheet developed by the Physicians for Social Responsibility and ACEEE.

Can Google Open Data Initiative Build Environmentally Sustainable Buildings?

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Google, in partnership with thinkstep, building architecture and engineering efficiency firm Flux and the Healthy Building Network have launched a free database that aims to promote environmentally sustainable buildings.

The Quartz database is the result of a year-long collaboration known as the Quartz Project, whose overall mission is to promote the transparency of building product information. Now freely available to building owners, architects and sustainability specialists, as well as to the general public, the database brings together data on the impacts building materials have on both human health and environmental sustainability.

October 2015 issue of NTIS National Technical Reports Newsletter features e-cycling publications

The October 2015 issue of NTIS’ National Technical Reports Newsletter features a sampling of new and historic information on electronics recycling that is available from NTIS via the NTRL website. The issue also includes links to the public access plans of several federal agencies and an overview of NTIS’ new NTRL database.

Hospitals rank among ‘greenest’ in US

Read the full story in Grand Rapids Business Journal.

Three West Michigan hospitals have been recognized nationally for their green practices.

Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital, Metro Health Hospital and Bronson Methodist Hospital are among Becker’s Hospital Review’s “50 of the Greenest Hospitals in America” for 2015.

The ranking features hospitals that are leading the industry in sustainable innovation, eco-friendly design and green improvements.