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Safer Chemicals and Sustainable Materials


Related Tools & Resources

Questions about Business Membership?

Contact Lara Sutherland at 866-598-2210

What are safer chemicals and sustainable materials?

Many Practice Greenhealth member GPOs, hospitals, and health care systems are concerned about the toxic chemicals coming into their facilities via the products they buy, as well as the toxic chemicals released into the environment during the production or disposal of the materials used in the products they buy.

This is reflected in some of the Product- and Service-Specific RFP & RFI Language Practice Greenhealth recommends to our member hospitals and GPOs, some of our members’ environmental purchasing policies, the questions vendors are getting from GPOs and health systems in RFPs and RFIs, and the data from our hospital Benchmark Report.

Note that five major GPOs just agreed to use a list of Standardized Questions on contracts pertaining to medical products. These Questions address PVCphthalates, Bisphenol A, halogenated organic flame retardantsmercury, carcinogens, and reproductive toxicants in products.  


Why should healthcare suppliers and service providers address safer chemicals and sustainable materials?

More and more Practice Greenhealth member GPOs, hospitals, and health care systems are looking for products that contain fewer toxic chemicals and materials, or chemicals and materials that come from safer or less toxic manufacturing methods.

Practice Greenhealth members Catholic Healthcare WestKaiser Permanente, and the Group Purchasing Organization Premier have published case studies explaining how they are addressing these concerns.

In addition, many healthcare suppliers and service providers are responding to this need by reformulating and redesigning products, specifying less toxic products, creating their own procurement and design policies, or otherwise meeting the needs of their environmentally-aware healthcare clients.

Read about Perkins+Will, one of Practice Greenhealth’s member architecture firms, and their precautionary approach to chemicals in products.

Read about Construction Specialties, one of Practice Greenhealth’s members and a manufacturer of building products, regarding how they manage chemicals in products.

If your company has made significant progress reducing the use of toxic chemicals and environmentally problematic materials in products or used in your services, contact Lara Sutherland to see if you qualify for a case study. 

What resources are available to help suppliers and service providers address safer chemicals and sustainable materials?

  1. Standardized Environmental Questions for Medical Products are a set of supplier questions that can be used in the procurement process for medical products. These questions indicate many materials and chemicals of concern that may be present in your products, including PVC, phthalates, Bisphenol A, halogenated organic flame retardants, mercury, carcinogens, and reproductive toxicants.
  2. The Business-NGO Working Group. As more and more businesses seek to replace toxic chemicals with safe alternatives, the Business-NGO Working Group has developed The Guiding Principles for Chemicals Policy, which establish an effective strategy for promoting, developing and using chemicals that are environmentally preferable across their entire life cycle. Endorsers of these Principles include Practice Greenhealth members Perkins+Will, Construction Specialties, Hospira, and Naturepedic. Participants in the Business-NGO Working Group meetings have found them a useful way to gain background and information related to developing products and services geared towards safer chemicals and materials.
  3. The Guide to Choosing Safer Products and Chemicals in the Health Care Setting helps hospitals address issues of safer products in their facilities, but can be valuable to suppliers of products and services as you evaluate how to serve these types of customers.
  4. The Pharos Project provides health and environmental data about the manufacture, use, and end of life of building materials. View an archived webinar explaining how you can use Pharos to inform your selection of building materials.
  5. Practice Greenhealth archived webinars:
    1. Choosing Safer Products and Chemicals in Health Care
    2. Green Construction: Choosing Safe and Sustainable Materials Using the Pharos Evaluation Tool
    3. What does Chemical Contamination Cost Health Care?
    4. EPP 101: Building a Successful and Cost-Effective Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program
  6. If you are looking for additional resources, or something that is more specific to your situation, please contact Lara Sutherland at 866-598-2210.
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