Less than a month after Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell signed an executive order directing state agencies and authorities to begin using less toxic cleaning products to help reduce exposure to toxic ingredients and improve indoor air quality, St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport becomes the first hospital in the state to adopt the award-winning Greening the Cleaning® program.

The program is just one successful educational and outreach program from The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology®, part of Hackensack University Medical Center, a not-for-profit corporation in Hackensack, N.J. 

Greening the Cleaning® means eliminating to the greatest extent possible all cleaning agents containing hazardous ingredients and replacing them with environmentally responsible products, where available. More than 140 healthcare facilities, government authorities, businesses, and schools have implemented the program since 2001, all with direct savings in cleaning costs.

True Leadership
When the announcement was made, keynote speaker Deirdre Imus, founder and president of the Environmental Center, told the gathering, "St. Vincent's is demonstrating true leadership in this area, and we believe it will have a profound impact across the state. Our broader mission together is more than just about cleaning, it's about a new way of looking at the decisions we make and evaluating their impact on environmental health. Your decision here says to all who enter that St. Vincent's is truly dedicated to creating a healing environment."

St. Vincent's President/CEO Susan L. Davis, RN, EdD, said that adopting Greening the Cleaning will be part of an overall and ongoing effort to improve patient safety and create a healthier environment for the community. Under the agreement, St. Vincent's Medical Center will purchase cleaning products and benefit from overall guidance on "greening" the hospital.

St. Vincent's has already installed energy-efficient lighting, environmentally safe wallpapers and paints, and created a green checklist to evaluate key environmental issues throughout the hospital. Recently, the medical center installed a digital radiology system, which will eliminate the need for X-ray film and associated chemicals. A team from St. Vincent's is also leading a "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle" campaign to continually look for ways to introduce the "green" practice into maintenance and construction projects.