April 6, 2011 – Phoenix, Ariz -- Kansas City, Mo.-based Sizewise, a growing and diversified medical equipment manufacturer, today announced at CleanMed2011 the industry’s first and only sustainable surface that reduces harmful chemical exposure for patients and care providers.
In a hospital environment, mattresses and other surfaces are the number one element that patients are in continual contact with during their entire length of stay. Sizewise is the first manufacturer in the U.S. to produce a mattress based on environmental healthcare research and studies that outline the key chemicals of concern.
“The Envy Line is the only medical surface on the market today that qualifies under stringent certification that it is free of harmful chemicals of concern to healthcare workers and patients,” said Sizewise Chief Operating Officer Trever Frickey. “We’ve been pleased with the response of hospitals and their ‘Green Teams’ as they search out alternative products that support their overall sustainability goals.”
Chemicals are ubiquitous in healthcare environments, and unless healthcare institutions explicitly ban certain chemicals – those chemicals will come in the door. Many organizations, from the Healthier Hospital Initiative (HHI) to Physicians for Social Responsibility to the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 sponsored by Senator Lautenberg and Congressmen Waxman and Rush, all are part of a concerted effort to “green” the healthcare environment.
The HHI says healthcare institutions are crucial partners in reducing exposure to toxic chemicals by choosing safer products. With increased awareness, according to HHI, hospitals can:
• eliminate known hazards and switch to safer alternatives,
• improve the bottom line by reducing disposal costs and liability,
• ensure a healthier environment for patients and employees, and
• transform the design and manufacture of products by making vendors aware of concerns.
The Sizewise Envy Line is a series of surfaces that range from mattresses to operating table pads, stretcher pads, wheelchair cushions, pediatric surfaces and more. These products have been produced from non-hazardous fire retardant materials and meet or exceed the newest industry guidelines and certifications for environmental sustainability.
“It is a critical balance to not only eliminate harmful chemicals of concern, while maintaining key fire retardant properties, but further ensure that the expected positive clinical outcomes are still the top priority,” Frickey said. “Sizewise is known for our therapeutic surfaces and the key clinical results they provide – which makes these surfaces even more valuable by being truly ‘green’.”
A recent study conducted in partnership with the PSR, American Nurses Association , Healthcare Without Harm Nurses Working Group and Clean New York produced a report documenting the presence of industrial chemicals in the bodies of doctors and nurses across the country. The study found that all of the 20 participants had toxic chemicals associated with health care in their bodies. Each participant had at least four chemicals that can be found on the recently released Environmental Protection Agency list of priority chemicals for regulation.
These chemicals are all associated with chronic illness and physical disorders. Highlights of this report include:
• 12 Doctors & 8 Nurses tested
• 2 from 10 different states
• 62 chemicals tested
• 18 chemicals detected in every single participant
• At least 24 individual chemicals were found in every participant’s body
• As many as 39 chemicals were detected in two participants
The Most Stringent Certification Available
The Green Bear Mark of Excellence is a series of stringent tests that reviews more key chemicals than any process today and measures against a rigorous set of “detectable limits” that meet key healthcare guidelines.
“Examining closely what is beneath the surface of the products we buy and requiring the elimination of key toxic materials is a goal that is good for public health, the safety of patients, our environment and the global community,” said Harrison Murphy, frequent speaker on environmental sustainability, president of Ventex, and registrar of the Green Bear Mark of Excellence. “PVCs and brominated flame retardants both contain halogens. The complete elimination of halogens from the products we buy is a key goal in a toxic reduction purchasing strategy.&rdqu;
Impact of Key Chemicals
Fire barriers are often the core element that carry the most harmful chemicals. Beyond common fire barrier chemicals, a halogen-free approach aids in the elimination of chemicals of concern such as antimony, bromine, chlorine, lead, mercury, phthalates and more. Exposure to these chemicals have been linked to cancer, adult infertility, learning disabilities, seizures, adverse effects on embryos, the central nervous system, the brain, heart and more. The new Sizewise Envy Line takes a halogen-free approach to the contents of its fabric, fire barriers and foam cores, and ensures that these harmful chemicals are not causing harm to patients and healthcare workers.