The story of the Sambhavna Clinic, a non-profit holistic health clinic in Bhopal, India, built to treat those injured by the Union Carbide toxic gas release in 1984. enlarge video
HCWH's co-founder Gary Cohen is a recipient of the prestigious Skoll Award. This video, chronicling the evolution of HCWH's work, premiered at the 2009 Skoll World Forum. enlarge video
Green chemistry is the design of products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry seeks to reduce and prevent pollution at its source.
According to an analysis by researchers at the University of California, building capacity in green chemistry will support a vibrant economy, open new opportunities for investment and employment, and protect human health and the state's natural resources. See Green Chemistry: Cornerstone to a Sustainable California
Health care institutions have a particular ethical responsibility to use products containing chemicals that pose less risk to human health — and due to their massive buying power, the health care system can play a key role in shifting the economy toward green chemistry.
A growing number of hospitals are taking a "better safe than sorry" approach to chemicals — eliminating suspected hazards and switching to safer alternatives. Benefits of this approach to the bottom line can include reduced disposal costs, reduced liability and improved health for employees.
As health care and other large institutions are addressing these problems, leading industries are getting the message.
Dell, IKEA, H&M, Collins & Aikman, Herman Miller and Shaw Carpets are examples of companies committing to using safer chemicals. Innovation is both feasible and profitable and other companies need to set similar goals and get active.
See case studies of leading companies that are working to clean up their chemical supply chains in Clean Production Action's Healthy Business Strategies for Transforming the Toxic Chemical Economy (pdf).
- Green Chemistry in California
U.C. Berkeley website
- Healthy Business Strategies for Transforming the Toxic Chemical Economy (pdf)
- International Agency for Research on Cancer website
- Sustainable Hospital Project
database of alternatives
- Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website
- What does Chemical Contamination Cost Health Care? download pdf or view web presentation