Studies Continue to Show Healthcare Workers have the Highest Bloodstream Contaminants from Continuous Exposure to Chemical-laden Environments
PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- 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 (PSR) 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 ExcellenceTM 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.”
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.
Sizewise, a privately held company, manufactures medical equipment ranging from hospital bed frames and specialized mattresses to wheelchairs and other devices that assist in the healing of patients in hospitals, long-term care facilities or at home. Sizewise develops holistic approaches in serving the needs of all patient populations including geriatric, bariatric and pediatric as well as providing unique mattresses in support of injured soldiers coming home to VA hospitals. The company began its 20-year history specializing in bariatric medical equipment and has experienced growth alongside the obesity epidemic in America, but now serves standard patient populations as well in the U.S. and internationally.
Sizewise has more than 70 distribution locations across the United States with a growing presence in Europe and Canada. With four manufacturing facilities, Sizewise products are designed and built in the United States. For more information, visit sizewise.net.
The performance attributes, product characteristics and material claims listed have been verified through supplier certification and laboratory testing where available or appropriate. The use of “free” as a descriptive term is intended to communicate an absence of those listed materials as determined to the detectable limits of reasonably customary tests methods or as a result manufacturing processes that have been conducted without the intentional use of the listed materials in processing steps or in the final composition of the product itself. In the specific case of phthalates, reference of “free” is limited to those phthalates and their respective limits as found in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). Certain uncontrollable, natural, environmental occurrences of listed materials may be found and such occurrences are not intended to be precluded by the use of the term “free” as the potentially detected levels will still represent substantial and important reductions in the presence of such materials over traditional manufacturing approaches.
Mary Nell Westbrook, 816-500-4817
KEYWORDS: United States North America Arizona Missouri
INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Health Hospitals Medical Devices Other Health Medical Supplies Nursing General Health Managed Care Physical Therapy