Spring is approaching fast, so its the perfect time to evaluate your land care policy and plan, and consider some new approaches to minimize pesticide risks. Check out our featured webinar and pesticide-free guide for truly greener land care practices.

As healthcare facility managers, your primary concern is the well-being of the people you serve and the facility’s staff and visitors. All too often, you deal with unexpected challenges and rely on your contracted professionals to address specific needs, including for pest and land care management. While pest and land care companies you are experts on pest and landcare management, their expertise is not on the health impacts of pesticides. And confusingly, companies may adopt varying definitions for the "Integrated Pest Management" (IPM) services they offer – from older conventional pest management approaches such as “see ‘em -spray ‘em” and even “ spray for ‘em just in case… even if I don’t see ‘em” approach to the more advanced and commonly used definition of IPM, whereby the focus is on non-chemical pest prevention and intervention, reserving use of least-toxic pesticides only as a last resort – the latter definition which protects the health of patients/residents and staff. See Joe's Tips this month for three important to-do items and how we can boost your sustainability with a Green Team presentation to your facility.

We have two urgent pesticide-related alerts to share with you in this month’s newsletter that concern protecting the people you serve and your staff.
Featured Spring Webinar & Guide
GGStart Spring off right!
Preventing & Solving Weed, Turf & Landscape Issues
Without Pesticides
with Kevin Wengernuk, KW Landscaping
Pesticide Safety Alerts
A Maryland Bill to Ban PFAS in Pesticides
A bill introduced in the current 2023 Maryland General Assembly aims to protect the people your facility serves from pesticides containing PFAS “forever chemicals”. Maryland SB158/HB319 would ban all PFAS from pesticides used and sold in Maryland by 2026.

Last issue we told you about new research finding PFAS in common pesticides. Maryland annually registers 12,000 pesticides that may include PFAS, which are a group of man-made chemicals linked to numerous long-term chronic and life-threatening health impacts. Many people you serve are already challenged with these same conditions.

Here’s a factsheet about this bill, which addresses this urgent crisis that affects us all!

Why is PFAS a Concern for Health Care Facilities?
  • PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) are known as forever chemicals because they do not break down in the environment. Like DDT and lead, they continue to be alarmingly harmful for very prolonged periods and may pose serious harm for generations to come. Toxic PFAS chemicals have already made their way into our drinking water, crops, fisheries, and consequently, into our bodies.

  • Pesticides alone are linked to acute, adverse long-term health impacts, so when used in facilities, they can negatively contribute to the health challenges for which patients/residents are being treated.

  • Unknown added exposure of PFAS in pesticides adds a more serious hazard complicating patient diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes, as well as harming staff.
Your action needed: Remove the risk of PFAS in pesticides by adopting a prioritized Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program, that is properly defined. See how our pro bono services can assist you in implementing such a program for your facility (below).
Check for Banned Chlorpyrifos Products at Your Facility
As of January 1, 2022, Maryland banned all pesticides containing chlorpyrifos for ALL uses in the state. Due to inadequate notification by the Maryland Dept. of Agriculture’s Pesticide Regulation department, pest management land care companies, hospitals and their workers may be unaware of the ban and could still be using banned products.

Chlorpyrifos can be used in indoor bait stations and in land care. The danger is that land care applications can be tracked into your facility. Chlorpyrifos drift during applications can be carried far through the air, affecting anyone. Indoor uses can be volatile, so vapors are carried in the air.

Federal law banned chlorpyrifos use on food crops, but Maryland outlawed all uses of chlorpyrifos because decades of research determined it to be too dangerous to health.

Chlorpyrifos is a highly neurotoxic insecticide developed from World War II-era nerve gas. Direct exposure causes developmental damage to babies, also dizziness, vomiting, convulsions, numbness in the limbs, loss of intellectual functioning, and death. Long-term chlorpyrifos exposure causes brain damage in children, learning disabilities, pediatric cancer, ADD/ADHD, neurological damage, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, and more.

Your action needed: Check with your pest management and land care contractors to ensure they are aware of the Maryland ban. Check in-house supply closets for products listing "chlorpyrifos" as an active ingredient. Product names and safe disposal info here.
Charting a Safe Course for Your Facility
Safe IPM Guidance is Just an Email Away
Are your facility's pest management and land care contractors practicing safe pest management? The IPM in Health Care Facilities Project can evaluate this and assist you in implementing or improving your IPM Program.

Remember, a prioritized IPM Program means prioritizing non-chemical pest prevention and, only when those measures fail, then using the least toxic pesticides. This approach reduces pesticide hazards (including PFAS) and costs while protecting patients and staff.
Schedule a Free Green Team Virtual Presentation
Invite us to provide your Green Team with a free virtual presentation addressing recent developments that can impact your facility's pest management practices.

Your Green Team is the central institutional committee responsible for identifying and implementing sustainability initiatives that reduce the environmental impacts of day-to-day operations. Protecting the population you serve, and your staff, from both pests and pesticides, is a critical aspect of reducing environmental impacts. 

We can help! Some topics we address in our Green Teams presentation and Q&A:
  • Ensuring the sustainability of your pest management program
  • How your IPM Policy is crucial to the health of patients and staff 
  • Safer alternatives to pesticides and pesticide-registered disinfectants
  • Recent research on widely used pesticides that impact healthcare
  • Pesticides that weaken immune systems and vaccine effectiveness, i.e. COVID-19 
  • Current Maryland-banned pesticides that your facility needs to be aware of
Did You Know?
Latest Tips from Joe
Joe Griffin had a 16-year tenure at Sheppard Pratt and a total of 35+ years of Senior Level Facility Support Operations experience. Joe is a consultant to the IPM in Health Care Facilities Project.

EVS Directors have their hands full, so we tend to rely on our contracted pest and land care vendors. That's why it's critical to remember: 
Your vendors work for YOU and under YOUR guidelines to provide
a safe facility environment, without adverse harm from pesticides.

Tip #1:
"Ensure contractors are policy compliant"
In my years as an EVS director, I learned the necessity of setting sustainability policies that supported our commitment to "first do no harm." Reviewing these policies with contractors regularly and training staff are key to achieving results. Without these measures, staff turnover and vendor changes erode even a high standard of IPM to a dangerous "see 'em, spray 'em" approach.
Tip #2:
"Check your disinfectants for risk"
Some regularly used disinfectants in facilities are actually registered pesticides that can deplete a patient’s immune system and harm respiratory function – both of concern during our ongoing pandemic. Use the website to see if what your facility uses is an “increased risk” or “safer” product. Go to The List and search your products by name, using your browser search keys, "Command + F" on Macs and "Control + F" on PCs.
Tip #3:
"Review your land care practices annually"
Before spring land care revs up, ensure that harmful pesticides are not being used on your grounds – they can be tracked into the facility and have indoor impact. Pesticides are unnecessary for effective land care. Maryland's State House organic grounds prove this point! A complete review of in-house and contracted land care services/products should be done at least yearly, to ensure the avoidance of harmful pesticides that could directly affect the health and safety of patients, staff, and visitors at your facility.
What's in Your Disinfectant?
If you haven't yet... Share with your team
Find out if you're using disinfectants containing hazardous chemicals that pose an increased risk to staff and the people your facility serves.

The IPM in Health Care Facilities Project promotes safer pest and weed management best practices that are effective and protect the public and environment. Exposure to harmful pesticides can cause or exacerbate the very issues for which patients/residents are being treated. Especially during this challenging pandemic, we keep you updated on important news and research related to COVID-19 issues — from least toxic disinfectants to pesticides that do/do not exacerbate coronavirus symptoms. We support your efforts to ensure a protected and toxic-free environment for your facility and those you serve —
and ALL our IPM in Health Care Facilities Project services are FREE.
For information and help, 
contact us! 
Our services are always free.
IPM in Health Care
Facilities Project
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