HHS Touts ‘Hazard-Free’ Medical Facilities on Earth Day

By Susan Jones | April 22, 2011 | 8:38 AM EDT

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks in Seattle on Feb. 9, 2011. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – “Ensuring that patients across the country have access to hazard-free care facilities, which are vital to the healing process, and that all Americans face fewer environmental risk factors in their day to day lives are efforts that tie directly into our mission here at HHS,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an Earth Day message on Friday.

She said her staff at HHS is celebrating the day – and working throughout the year to “promote responsible environmental policy since the health of the American people is directly linked to a healthy environment.”

The HHS Secretary said she recently visited the Boriken Health Center in New York where stimulus funding has helped the center renovate its facilities and significantly reduce the levels of chemicals and harmful materials normally used in construction.

She cited the World Health Organization, which says environmental hazards are responsible for as much as a quarter of the total burden of disease world-wide, and more than one-third of the burden among children.

“At HHS we are committed to doing whatever is necessary to protect the health of all Americans, and we recognize that ensuring a clean and healthy environment is a fundamental part of that effort.”
Sebelius also worked in an Earth Day plug for job creation, which polls indicate is a key concern for the American electorate: “Protecting the environment and our citizens’ health not only improves the quality of our lives, but it strengthens our economy and helps to create green jobs,” she said.