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SUB-PROBLEMS INCLUDING LEADING TO IMPAIRMENT AND BEST PRACTICES FOR POTENTIAL HAZARDS EXTERNAL TO THE FACILITY

Air Pollution

Hospitals produce air pollutants from medical waste incinerators, boilers, sterilization units, paint booths, emergency generators, anesthetic use, air conditioning and refrigeration, laboratory chemicals and fume hoods, motor vehicles, etc. These pollutants consist of volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and hazardous air pollutants. Most of the on-site medical and infectious waste incinerators have been eliminated due to federal rules and regulations. This means that commercial units using remote sites are carrying out this function. Industrial boilers which are common in hospitals may also produce sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulates. When hospital waste is burnt either on site or at special incinerators, it can produce additional pollutants such as hydrochloric acid, dioxins, furans, lead, cadmium, mercury, etc.

Best Practices in Controlling Air Emissions

  • • Service all air conditioning and refrigeration units on a routine basis and prevent leaks of the gases.
  • • Where feasible, use steam generated from incinerators to partially replace boilers. Use ENERGY STAR certified boilers and a set of standard boilers to conserve energy and reduce air pollutants.
  • • Minimize the use of medical waste incinerators and use other techniques of sterilization or decontamination.
  • • In older buildings where asbestos or lead paint needs to be removed, utilize only highly trained, certified companies to avoid creating air pollutants.
  • • Install a filtering ventilation system in paint booths to collect paint fumes.
  • • Use scavenger systems to contain anesthesia gases and prevent them escaping to the inside air or outside air.
 
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