Adult cleaner maid woman with mop and uniform cleaning corridor pass floor of pharmacy industry factory or clinic

Sustainability efforts can become infection prevention issues for healthcare facilities, according to an article on Contagion Live website.

While environmental sustainability can improve human health in the long term, in the short term, issues of energy use, chemical safety, and waste reduction can have immediate implications for patient care and safety.

Exchanging harsh cleaning chemicals for “greener” but less effective ones could create problems from an infection-prevention standpoint.

For instance,  Saskia Popescu, a hospital epidemiologist and infection preventionist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona said hospitals can’t take chances when it comes to cleaning and disinfection.

The concern is the ability to disinfect, not the environmental burden, Popescu said, adding she wasn’t aware of green products that can kill Clostridium difficile or Mycobacterium tuberculosis in two minutes as is needed.

But there is still a lot that hospitals can do without completely changing how they clean and disinfect.

Hospitals can use products that have been certified as environmentally-friendly when cleaning things like windows, toilets, and carpets. Those products use gentler chemicals that are healthier for the environment and for workers.

Healthcare facilities can also work to reduce waste. Efforts to keep hospitals sterile have can lead to a mountain of disposable products in the clinical settings — and all that waste eventually ends up in landfills.

While many disposable products are crucial to infection control efforts, their use in the other areas —  a cafeteria setting, for instance — can be minimized to make a major impact on a hospital’s environmental footprint.

Read the full article.