The 11 major U.S. hospital systems that form the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) report they have sent letters to scores of manufacturers urging them to accelerate the development of interior furnishings products that do not contain halogenated flame retardants (HFR).
HHI's 11 hospital systems represent 500 hospitals and more than $20 billion in healthcare purchasing power.
In the letters, the HHI hospital system representatives incentivized the development of HFR-free products, pledging, "As products that meet these requirements are developed, our commitment to the HHI Challenges means our organizations will purchase these safer affordable alternatives."
A recent in-depth Chicago Tribune series highlighted concerns about the safety and efficacy of flame retardants currently approved for use, catching the attention of hospitals, many of which are already working to eliminate potentially unsafe chemicals of concern from the health care environment, an HHI press release states.
HHI is a sector-wide campaign that seeks to embed environmental health and sustainability into the core strategy of healthcare. Its 11 sponsoring institutions are dedicated to moving the sector toward greater sustainability by committing to improvements in six areas of hospital operations (called the HHI Challenges).
One of the challenges, the "Safer Chemicals Challenge," calls for the elimination of halogenated flame retardants and other chemicals of concern in health care interior furnishings.