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A Path to Safer Chemicals: Purchasing Integrated Pest Management Services

An important step in reducing the use of and potential exposure to hazardous chemicals within health care facilities is through an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach within buildings and in landscaping. IPM is a strategy focusing on long-term prevention and suppression of pest problems through a combination of practices such as structural, cultural, mechanical, physical, and biological controls, with a least hazardous pesticide used only as a last resort.

In procuring IPM services, the specifications should focus on identifying and preventing pest problems in the first place through inspection and monitoring, and company technicians should identify conditions that can lead to pest pressures, even in the absence of an identified pest problem.  Least-toxic pesticides are applied only as a last resort after non-toxic methods have been exhausted.

Justin Graves, Sustainability Manager at the University of Maryland Medical Center, discovered  that some pest problems can be addressed through employee education. They utilized their existing vendor, who was amenable to using an IPM approach,  and the Maryland Pesticide Network to make this transition.

With technical guidance from IPM experts, Practice Greenhealth has updated several member-only resources for purchasers and for others who are interested in procurement of IPM services for building interiors and landscapes. You can find sample RFPs, health care specifications, and policies by visiting the IPM section of the EPP Specifications and Resources Guide at EPP Purchasing Contracting for IPM.

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