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jueves, 2 de octubre de 2014

People, planet and profits: the case for greening operating rooms

Green Healthcare
Over the past 40 years, the health care industry has undergone radical changes in the types of products it uses and its waste disposal practices. In the 1980s, concerns about the spread of blood-borne diseases prompted a shift from reusable to single-use devices, resulting in increases in waste production.
The most recent environmental data on health care in Canada show that in 2008 the sector generated about 1.46% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions and in 2001 was a source of 1% of total solid waste. Canadian hospital activities were the second most energy-intensive activity in the commercial and institutional sector in 2008, consuming the equivalent annual energy of 440 000 Canadian homes. In 2007, US health care facilities contributed 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions, disposed of more than 4 billion pounds (1 lb = 0.45 kg) of waste and were the second-largest contributor to landfills after the food industry.
Few Canadian hospitals have published their ecological footprints (a calculation of the bioproductive land and water required to sustain a population). However, in 2001, Lions Gate Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, reported a footprint of 2841 hectares (ha) or 719 times its actual area. In 2006, London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario, reported a footprint of 63 074 global hectares or about 384 times its actual area.
It is ironic that our efforts in hospitals to improve the health of patients contribute detrimentally to the health of the ecosystem. In 2009, the World Health Organization emphasized that hospitals have responsibilities in making health care more sustainable.
Kagoma Y, et al. People, planet and profits: the case for greening operating rooms. CMAJ. Nov 20, 2012; 184(17): 1905–1911.
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