5180.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000: 2:30 PM-4:00 PM

Health Care Without Harm: Putting the precautionary principle into practice

Current policies such as risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis give the benefit of the doubt to new products and technologies, which may later prove harmful. An emerging approach to decision-making in uncertainty is the Precautionary Principle, which forces us to acknowledge scientific uncertainty. It asks us to consider what we know and how we know it, while we consider what to do. This session will examine the practical application of the Precautionary Principle in the field of health care. Using vinyl (PVC) plastic as a case study, presenters will examine how utilizing the precautionary principle approach leads to different conclusions than the traditional risk assessment model. Session participants will learn how the medical supply market is changing in response to these growing concerns about vinyl use and disposal, and what steps hospitals are taking right now to reduce the health impact of their products. Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of over 200 organizations, including the American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Catholic Healthcare West and the AFL-CIO. The mission of the campaign is to transform the health care industry so it is no longer a source of environmental harm, without compromising safety or care. Goals of the coalition include promoting pollution prevention, greening purchasing, eliminating nonessential incineration, and phasing out of the use of mercury and PVC plastics
See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement.
Learning Objectives: Refer to the individual abstracts for learning objectives
Organizer(s):Mary Beth Doyle, MPH
2:30 PMIntroductory Remarks
2:35 PMPVC Plastic in medicine - the roles of the precautionary principle and risk assessment
Ted Schettler, MD, MPH
2:50 PMThe Koop Report controversy: Corporate influence in a public health debate
Charlotte Brody, RN
3:05 PMGetting the poisons out of health care: a materials approach
Tracey Easthope, MPH
3:20 PMPromoting alternatives without compromising care: A nurse’s perspective
Susan O. Wilburn, MPH, BSN, RN
3:35 PMMercury pollution prevention in Boston hospitals: A case study in leadership
Bill Ravanesi, MA, MPH
3:50 PMConcluding Remarks
Cosponsors:Epidemiology; Occupational Health and Safety

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA