work? How are asbestos and lead handled
in older facilities during renovation? Are
contractors and the facilities following
recommendations from the Joint Commission (JCAHO), OSHA, and the Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA)
process, or the AIA Minimum Design
Standard for Healthcare Facilities during
construction? Some facilities may also
have their own regulations.
Any medical facility is going to have
chemicals, medicines, and biological
waste onsite at some point during a typical day. How are these materials stored?
Could a patient or client be exposed during the course of a visit? Was any hazard-
There are literally tens of thou- sands of medical facilities throughout the U.S., from large hospital campuses to corner
drugstores. The healthcare industry is
growing rapidly and facilities will continue to expand to match patient and technology demands. As the industry evolves,
these facilities are subject to many environmental exposures on a daily basis.
The Environmental Protection Agency
has recently increased its focus on health-
care facilities, resulting in an initiative
to enforce compliance. Environmental
regulations that may affect healthcare fa-
cilities include the Clean Air Act; Clean
Water Act; the Resource Conservation
and Recovery Act; and the Federal Insec-
ticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.
State and local agencies may also imple-
ment their own protocols.
Many operators of hospitals and other
medical facilities believe they have minor environmental exposures that they
adequately address with self-audits and
inspections. Chemical usage or waste
streams may be relatively minor at some
medical offices, but here are some specific environmental exposures that relate
to normal operations of most healthcare
Contractors bring many potential environmental exposures onto these medical campuses as part of their construction work. How are paints and solvents
stored? What about dust from carpentry
and Environmental Claims
By Amanda Duncan