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UPMC Media Relations

Magee-Womens Hospital Honored For Environmental Initiatives

PITTSBURGH, September 18, 2006Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has received national recognition for their environmental efforts from Hospitals for a Healthy Environment, a New Hampshire-based organization founded jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Hospital and American Nurses associations and Health Care Without Harm. The premier national recognition of environmental achievement in health care, these prestigious awards are presented yearly to health care organizations across the country that are setting the standard for environmental excellence.

Magee received the “Making Medicine Mercury Free” award, a one-time citation for hospitals that have met the challenge of nearly eliminating mercury from their facilities. A potent neurological and developmental toxin, mercury can impact human health at extremely low levels. Hospitals can be a major contributor to mercury air emissions, and hospitals that receive this recognition must meet stringent benchmarks for mercury elimination.

“By eliminating mercury, Magee is taking an important step to protect vulnerable populations such as infants, pregnant women and young children from the damaging effects of mercury pollution,” said Laura Brannen, executive director of Hospitals for a Healthy Environment. “Safe and effective alternatives are available. Magee is to be commended for making health care safer and healthier for everyone.”

Among other guidelines, hospitals that achieve the “mercury free” distinction must:

  • Establish a mercury-management policy that includes protocols for safe handling, spill cleaning and disposal procedures, education and training of employees and a process to regularly review mercury use reduction and elimination
  • Replace all patient mercury thermometers
  • Replace at least 75 percent of mercury-containing blood pressure cuffs with a phase-out plan for total elimination
  • Recycle fluorescent lamps
  • Implement battery collection programs for recycling

“It is an honor to be recognized by Hospitals for a Healthy Environment,” said Linda Antonelli, Magee’s vice president for administrative services. “Replacing mercury devices in our facility with safe and effective alternatives just makes sense.”

“This is definitely a big accomplishment and something to be proud of,” said Janet Brown, partner coordinator for Hospitals for a Healthy Environment.

About Magee-Womens Hospital
Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC is one of a handful not-for-profit hospitals in the United States dedicated to the care of women and infants. Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Magee serves as the teaching facility for obstetrics, gynecology, gynecological oncology and neonatology for students enrolled in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and for allied health professions. Members of Magee’s medical staff hold academic appointments at the University of Pittsburgh and are actively involved in education and research, as well as patient care.

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