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EPA Awards UNH $20,000 Grant to Study Hospital ‘Greening'

Release Date: 07/08/2003
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it has awarded $20,000 to the Pollution Prevention Program at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to study environmental performance at New England hospitals.

Hospitals and health care facilities can have major environmental impacts. They generate a large variety of hazardous wastes, and are the fourth largest source of mercury discharges in the U.S. They are the second most energy-intensive industry, and generate two million tons of solid waste per year. EPA has been working with hospitals in New England for several years to reduce their mercury use.

The UNH team headed by Dr. Ihab Farag, the Hamel Professor of Innovation and Technology, will be evaluating the environmental performance of selected hospitals in New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut. It will use an evaluation checklist developed by each state based on an EPA model that looks at environmental performance indicators such as waste generation, pollution prevention and energy/water conservation. The study will reveal opportunities for environmental improvements at the selected hospitals and across the health care industry in New England. The study will also be used to fine-tune the evaluation checklist in preparation for making it publicly available so hospitals can evaluate themselves.

"Hospitals and health care facilities in New England have made a lot of environmental progress, particularly in reducing mercury use, but there are still opportunities to make their operations even greener," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "UNH's experience with pollution prevention research makes them a perfect match to help identify opportunities for hospitals to improve environmentally."

"Our study will allow hospitals to enhance their comprehensive environmental stewardship program and to move forward with greener operations and more environmentally friendly alternatives," said Dr. Farag. "We are happy to collaborate with EPA's New England Office, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, the NH Hospital Association, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and the Narragansett Bay Commission in Rhode Island on this exciting project to make New England health care facilities greener."