FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2012
Ruth Berlin, LCSW-C, Executive Director, Maryland Pesticide Network
410 849-3909, ext. 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jay Feldman, Executive Director, Beyond Pesticides
202 543-5450, email@example.com
Thomas A. Green, Ph.D., President, IPM Institute of North America
608 232-1410, firstname.lastname@example.org
MARYLAND HEALTH CARE FACILITY FIRST IN NATION TO RECEIVE GREENSHIELD PLATINUM CERTIFICATION FOR HEALTH CARE FACILITIES
Baltimore, MD – Springfield Hospital Center is the first health care facility in the nation to receive Green Shield Certified® Platinum for Health Care Facilities for its ground-breaking achievement in implementing and maintaining a high level of “green pest management” on its Sykesville, Maryland campus. The facility has adopted clearly defined Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles and practices that eliminate the use of toxic chemicals in managing pests. Springfield Hospital Center, a state psychiatric facility that operates under the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is a participant of the IPM in Health Care Facilities Project, a joint project of the Maryland Pesticide Network and Beyond Pesticides, launched in 2006. The Project assists health care facilities transition to safer pest management practices using defined IPM and natural land care as greening initiatives that advance an atmosphere of environmental stewardship, social responsibility and fiscal security.
IPM, in hospitals, elder care facilities, special needs schools, and other health care settings protects vulnerable populations. Springfield’s IPM program focuses on effective non-chemical pest prevention including sanitation and exclusion to prevent pest problems thereby protecting its patients from risks including a variety of diseases which can be transmitted by rodents, flies, cockroaches and other pests and unnecessary pesticide exposures.
“IPM emphasizes non-chemical strategies to achieve long-term solutions, protecting people and the environment from pests and pesticides. When we do IPM, we ask ourselves ‘Why is the pest there?’ By focusing on eliminating pest-friendly conditions, you prevent pest problems rather than just treating the symptoms. Least-toxic pesticides are a last resort when reasonable non-toxic options don’t provide adequate results. Green Shield Certification recognizes facilities and service providers who truly practice IPM at a high level, which has been shown to dramatically reduce pest complaints and pesticide use,” said Tom Green, president of the IPM Institute of North America.
Angel Systems, a leader in the pest control industry’s transition to defined IPM, and the vendor servicing Springfield Hospital, exemplifies how to effectively work with hospital food service, custodial and maintenance departments in recognizing and resolving situations that might lead to a pest issue well before a problem starts. As a result of the coordinated efforts by Springfield’s leadership, staff, and Angel Systems, the hospital has not applied pesticides in more than three years.
As outlined in the IPM in Health Care Facilities Project’s 2008 report, Taking Toxics Out of Maryland’s Health Care Sector, the most vulnerable populations are unknowingly exposed to toxic pesticides in most Maryland health-care facilities because of their use of pesticides associated with a range of negative health effects, including certain cancers, nervous system damage, respiratory illnesses, birth defects, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body Disease, autism, and endocrine disruption. Surveys conducted both nationally and in Maryland by the Project partners, identified that most health care facilities’ pest management practices rely on highly toxic pesticides linked to cancers, developmental, neurological, reproductive, respiratory and neurological disorders.
“Health care facilities share a commitment to the well-being of those they serve, and it makes no sense for these facilities to use products that can cause diseases and conditions it seeks to cure or prevent,” said Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides, a national community-based organization of grassroots groups. “Springfield’s ‘continued commitment to a pesticide-free campus is evident in their establishing an official hospital IPM policy that ensures dealing with pest management challenges in a manner that continues to model what is possible in significant contrast to the ongoing reliance on toxic pesticides in many health care facilities in our country,” said Feldman.
Green Shield certification is offered by the IPM Institute of North America for health care facilities practicing advanced Integrated Pest Management. The Institute is an independent non-profit organization formed in 1998 to leverage the power of the marketplace to improve health and the environment through IPM and other best management practices. The Institute operates certification programs for IPM professionals, schools and other organizations and IPM services. To achieve certification facilities must complete a satisfactory on-site evaluation. Certification is effective for one year, after which certification can be renewed by undergoing a renewal evaluation.
Since 2006, the IPM Institute has worked with the Maryland IPM in Health Care Facilities Project in assessing participating facilities’ pest management practices and providing recommendations for implementation of IPM.
“As a result of its continued efforts to improve upon their safer pest management program, Springfield has attained a nationally exemplary level of pesticide-free pest management that protects patients and staff from the dangers of pests and toxic pesticides,” said Ruth Berlin, Executive Director of the Maryland Pesticide Network, a coalition of 25 organizations in Maryland concerned about the impact of pesticides on public health and the environment. “We appreciate the leadership of Springfield Hospital Center and the State of Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and are very pleased that they are the first recipient of the Institute’s Platinum certification.”