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SBUH eliminates use of toxin; award presented by EPA's Diane Buxbaum, MPH

Making Medicine Mercury Free Award

STONY BROOK, N.Y., May 5, 2006 After a five-year arduous process, Stony Brook University Hospital was recognized this week for becoming "mercury free." The Making Medicine Mercury Free Award, a prestigious national award from "Hospitals for a Healthy Environment" (H2E), was presented to Stony Brook University Hospital CEO, Jack Gallagher, and Jill Kavoukian, Associate Director, Department of Environmental Health and Safety, by Diane D. Buxbaum, MPH, an environmental scientist with the EPA (pictured right).

The Making Medicine Mercury Free Award is a one-time award given to facilities that have met the challenge of becoming virtually mercury-free. Mercury, a potent neurotoxin and developmental toxin, can impact human health at extremely low levels. Health care facilities can be a major contributor to mercury air emissions. Hospitals that receive this award meet stringent benchmarks for mercury elimination.

H2E, a non-profit group focused on improving health care's environmental performance, is based on the vision of a healthy health care system a system that embraces safer building products, clean air, energy and water efficiency, safe working practices, and a commitment to public health demonstrated through waste volume and toxicity reduction. Jointly founded by the American Hospital Association, the Environmental Protection Agency, Health Care Without Harm, and the American Nurses Association, H2E educates health care professionals about pollution prevention opportunities, rewards the sector's best performers, and provides a wealth of practical tools and resources to facilitate the industry's movement toward environmental sustainability.

"Stony Brook University Hospital's mission is to provide excellence in patient care, education, research and community service," said Jill Kavoukian, Associate Director, Department of Environmental Health and Safety. "We can promote the health of our community by protecting the environment we all share. Making our community healthier by replacing mercury devices in our facility with safe and effective alternatives just made sense, and we are proud to be recognized for our efforts."

"By eliminating mercury, Stony Brook University Hospital is taking an important step to protect vulnerable populations like infants, pregnant mothers and young children from the damaging effects of mercury pollution," said Laura Brannen, Director of Hospitals for a Healthy Environment. "Mercury elimination is a no-brainer mercury is a threat to the health of people and our environment, and safe and effective alternatives are available. Stony Brook University Hospital is to be commended for making health care safer and healthier for everyone."

The leading national force in helping hospitals with environmental improvement, H2E provides practical solutions through a website full of resources, regular teleconferences offering expert help for environmental challenges, and a listserv where colleagues across the country share best practices and strategies for pollution prevention. At CleanMed 2006 (www.cleanmed.org), H2E honors nearly 200 facilities for environmental excellence through its annual awards program. To learn more, visit www.h2e-online.org.

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