WASHINGTON — One in five of the nation's top hospitals contacted in a nationwide survey by a health-care group have programs to reduce the use of PVC products, and 16 percent are reducing PVC packaging.
The June 9 survey from the Health Care Without Harm coalition is not representative of the industry, and it includes only those 50 facilities that responded to a questionnaire about their waste-disposal practices, including mercury and waste-reduction issues, coalition officials said.
The group argues that PVC incineration produces toxic dioxin, while plastics industry officials argue that incinerator operation determines the amount of dioxin coming out of the smokestack.
Two hospital officials at a news conference announcing the survey — from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Beth Israel Medical Center in New York — said their facilities either have not addressed PVC or want to get rid of mercury before tackling PVC.
The hospitals came from a list of 135 facilities identified as the nation's top hospitals by U.S. News and World Report.
Coalition coordinator Charlotte Brody said the group has been talking with the American Hospital Association about working together on waste-disposal issues, a change from the combative relationship between the groups.
An AHA spokesman said Brody's group is part of ``very significant'' discussions AHA is having with the Environmental Protection Agency about reducing hospital waste, particularly mercury.