Disinfectants are widely used in healthcare settings - they are essential to prevent cross contamination, outbreak of diseases, and hospital-acquired infections. Yet, the biocidal active substances that are so effective at disinfecting products, surfaces, and skin also pose a variety of potential hazards to human health and the environment.
Health Care Without Harm Europe coordinates the SAICM 2.0 project, which aims to combat these unintended hazards by promoting safer, more environmentally friendly disinfectants without compromising on hygienic and occupational health standards.
As part of this project, we recently organised an online webinar Promoting safer disinfectants in the global healthcare sector to raise awareness about the potential hazards of disinfectants in healthcare settings globally, and the need for effective chemical substitution and harmonised sustainable public procurement criteria. Our invited speakers share their experience and lessons learnt in replacing disinfectants with safer, effective products. A copy of the agenda is available, as well as a recording of the session and featured presentations below.
Featured speakers & presentations
Presentation: Promoting safer disinfectants in the global healthcare sector
Helena NORIN, Technical Supervisor Sustainable Chemicals Management - EnviroPlanning, Sweden.
Presentation: Environmental Hazards
Helena has been working with ecolabelling for more than 25 years. She has been responsible for ecolabelling of chemical products, paper products, diapers and textiles within the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. This work included developing criteria as well as assessing applications. She has been an ecolabelling expert for EEB and BEUC in several product groups within the paper and chemical products field since 2000. She regularly works with setting criteria for green public procurement as well as evaluation and follow-up of contract compliance.
Dr Orianne DUMAS, Tenure Researcher - French National Institute for Health and Medical Research
Presenation: Potential hazards linked to the use of disinfectants in healthcare: Health and occupational health risks assessment
Orianne Dumas is a researcher in the “Integrative Respiratory Epidemiology team” of the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, at Inserm (French National Institute for Health and Medical Research, Villejuif, France). She has 10 years of experience working in respiratory and environmental epidemiology. She strongly contributed to the emerging evidence for adverse effects of disinfectants and cleaning products in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, based on epidemiological studies in France and in the US.
Matthew WAND, Senior Project Team Leader - Public Health England
Presentation: Disinfectant use and antimicrobial reisistance
Matthew Wand has worked at Public Health England for 10 years. During this time, he has investigated the potential mechanisms by which Gram-negative bacteria “adapt” to the presence of biocides and disinfectants. A proportion of this work has included trying to understand whether there are any common resistance mechanisms for disinfectants and antibiotics and thus if there is cross-link between biocide adaptation and an increase in antibiotic resistance. His research has involved the invention of many methods to investigate this. He now works primarily on mechanisms of antibiotic resistance but lectures on the importance of disinfection to both students and healthcare workers.
Marion JAROS, Vienna Ombudsman Office - Environmental Protection, Austria
Presentation: Lessons from the City of Vienna and the WIDES database
Marion Jaros has more than 20 years of experience in the Environmental Protection office of the municipality of Vienna where she works on the assessment of chemicals, soil-protection, nanotechnologies, environmental education, and climate change. She is the head of the Viennese Working Groups of “ÖkoKauf Wien” for disinfectants and for nanotechnologies and member of the expert group developing the Viennese Climate Protection Program.She is Member of several working groups at the federal level as the REACH Platform and Working groups for Endocrine Disruptors, for the development of the “Austrian Nanotechnology Action Plan”.
Anders BOLMSTEDT, Phd Chemist - Region Västra Götaland, Sweden. Chair of the Board – Health Care Without Harm Europe
Presentation: Procurement of disinfectats in Region Västra Götaland, Sweden
Anders coordinates the chemical management in Region Västra Götaland from the aspects of health and environmental protection. His work involves setting up and evaluating demands in procurement, and educating employees about the safe management of hazardous chemicals. Anders has been involved in risk assessments of hazardous chemicals for over 15 years and initiated the National Substitution Group (NSG) in Sweden where he is still active. He is employed by the occupational health service of the Region and is also involved in promoting healthy lifestyles for a sustainable future.
Jessica IKONEN, Infection Prevention and Control Nurse - Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden
Presentation: Decontamination in Region Västra Götaland
As a registered nurse Jessica has worked in infection prevention and control for almost 20 years, both in the United Kingdom and Sweden. Within her role she participates in procurement and advises on matters relating to infection prevention and control. She is a clinical nurse specialist in intensive care and anaesthesia care and holds a BSc in Infection Control from University of Hertfordshire, UK.
Arianna GAMBA Procurement Policy & Project Officer - Health Care Without Harm Europe
Presentation: SACIM2.0 Project
Arianna heads HCWH Europe’s Sustainable Procurement programme and coordinates the SAICM2.0 Safer Disinfectants project. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and specialised in health with a European MSc in Health Economics and Management, where she wrote her thesis on Antimicrobial Resistance. She has acquired international experience in the non-profit, intergovernmental, and business sectors in the areas of cooperation and development, international affairs, healthcare and sustainability. Prior to joining HCWH Europe, she worked in the field of corporate social responsibility focussing on the pharmaceutical, insurance and chemicals sectors - supporting companies and industry associations to improve their sustainability performance and engaging and consulting with their stakeholders.
Manfred KLADE, PhD Chemist and Environmental Engineer - Bureau for Chemical Engineering TB-Klade
Presentation: Results of the SAICM2.0 project: Hazard analysis and case studies
Manfred supports HCWH Europe’s project SAICM 2.0 and is responsible for the hazard analysis of disinfectants. He previously led the research unit Ecological Product Policy at the Inter-University Research Centre IFZ in Graz (Austria); the unit’s working priorities comprised green procurement and sustainable consumption. At IFZ Manfred also developed the assessment scheme for the WIDES database - an assessment tool to document and compare adverse “side effects” of disinfectants. Manfred has a widespread interest in ecology and sustainability and is also engaged in assessing ecologically and toxicologically relevant properties of substances and products.
Dr. Prof. Edda WEIMANN, M.P.H. Medical Director - Gaißach Specialist Clinic for chronic diseases in childhood and adolescence, Germany
Presentation: Chemical sustituion of disinfectants
Edda Weimann is Professor of Paediatrics and Paediatric Endocrinology and holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Cape Town. She is the Medical Director of a hospital for chronic diseases in children and adolescents in Bavaria; Germany, south of Munich,. She lectures Climate Change and Health at the University of Munich and before at the University of Cape Town. Until Now she has transformed two hospitals, the University Hospital in Cape Town and her current one to adapt and implement more sustainable practices. The various sustainability projects were published in SAMJ (South African Medical Journal) and Deutsches Ärzteblatt, the German national medical journal.