Fort HealthCare has been recognized for its efforts to reduce mercury by Practice Greenhealth, a national membership organization for health care facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations. The award, “Making Medicine Mercury-Free” designates exceptional efforts to rid the health care sector of the harmful chemical mercury, commonly used in medical care.

“Reducing the environmental footprint involves the elimination of contaminants and pollutants one by one,” said Bob Jarboe, Executive Director of Practice Greenhealth. “Until recently mercury was an integral part of health care operations. Now the Making Medicine Mercury-Free Award recognizes our determination to reduce the health and environmental impacts associated with the use of mercury in every health care facility.”

The Practice Greenhealth Making Medicine Mercury-Free award recognizes facilities that have virtually eliminated mercury from their facilities and have demonstrated a commitment to continue to be mercury-free. Award criteria include mercury-free management and purchasing policies, and recycling programs.

“Our concern about mercury use in health care began when it was identified as a threat to public health and the environment,” said Fort HealthCare’s sustainability coordinator, Margaret Martin. “Fortunately, our industry and manufacturers have responded to this issue, and it’s getting easier to find safer, cost-effective alternatives. To minimize mercury’s effect, Fort HealthCare has set standards that go beyond regulatory reductions. It hasn’t been an easy process, but we believe a healthier patient and staff environment is more than worth the effort.”

Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in the healthcare community that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices. The Practice Greenhealth Environmental Excellence awards are presented to organizations making an exceptional effort to create a healthier environment. Practice Greenhealth presented Environmental Excellence awards in 7 categories for their work and commitment to health care and the environment on May 12.