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
Toxic Materials: Global Overview
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Health care institutions, like institutions outside the health care sector, regularly use a suprising number of highly toxic materials. These toxins affect patients, hospital staff, hospital visitors, and the environment.
Many of these toxins are defined and regulated by national, state or provincial, and local laws. Others are used daily but hardly regulated at all. They include carcinogens, materials that damage the skin and organs, and materials that corrode, irritate, or release other toxins in the course of normal use, storage, transportation or disposal.
Toxins with an especially heavy impact in the health care sector may be found in:
- Cleaners and disinfectants
- Dioxin-containing byproducts
- Electronic equipment
- Flame retardants
- Fragrance chemicals
- Mercury-containing medical devices and wastes
- Phthalates and DEHP
For detailed information on this topic, in addition to tools and resources, select your region of the world from the links at the top of this page.
- American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts & Figures 2007 (pdf)
- Common Substances in Hospitals May Cause Asthma: HCWH report (pdf) Read the press release
- EWG Survey links chemical exposures on the job to diseases in nurses
- Human Toxome Project tests blood, urine, breast milk and other human tissues for industrial chemicals that enter the human body as pollution via food, air, and water, or from exposures to ingredients in everyday consumer products
- Nationwide survey of more than 1,500 nurses suggests associations between the health of nurses and their children from nurses' exposures to hazardous chemicals and drugs in the workplace
- State of the Evidence 2008: The Connection Between Breast Cancer and the Environment
- Toxicant and Disease Database, maintained by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, is a searchable database that summarizes links between chemical contaminants and approximately 180 human diseases or conditions