Safer Chemicals

Safer Chemicals

Every day, patients and workers are exposed to a wide array of chemicals in hospitals and health care facilities.  More chemicals are used in health care than in any other sector. Many of these chemicals have been shown to have a lasting negative effect on individual health, public health and the environment. 

Why Safer Chemicals

Harmful chemicals used in some health care products are linked to a range of health impacts

  • Chemicals are present in some health care products, furniture and fabrics
  • Harmful chemicals are linked to cancer, birth defects, asthma and other health problems
  • Hospitals can create a healthier environment by using safer alternatives

Review the Safer Chemicals Resources for details of each level of commitment and data measurements required.


Achieve mercury-free status or develop and implement mercury elimination plan.

Level 1

Commit to one of the following: Green cleaning, DEHP/PVC reduction, healthy interiors.

Level 2

Commit to two of the following: Green cleaning, DEHP/PVC reduction, healthy interiors.

Level 3

Commit to three of the following: Green cleaning, DEHP/PVC reduction, healthy interiors.


Green Cleaning:
Purchase 90 percent Green Seal or EcoLogo certified cleaning products in these four categories: carpet, window, all purpose, and bathroom.



DEHP/PVC Reduction:
Eliminate DEHP/PVC from at least one product line*.



Healthy Interiors:
Ensure that 25 percent of the annual volume of freestanding furniture and medical furnishings**, purchases based on cost, eliminate the intentional use of halogenated flame retardants, formaldehyde, perfluorinated compounds and PVC (also known as vinyl).

*1. Breast Pumps, 2. Enteral Nutrition Products, 3. Parenteral Infusion Devices and Sets, 4. General Urological (irrigation/urology sets and solutions, urinary catheters), 5. Exam Gloves, 6. Umbilical Vessel Catheters, and 7. Vascular Catheters.

** This includes exam tables, patient recliners, mattresses, foams, panel fabrics, cubicle curtains, window coverings, fabric upholstery, and built-in

File Name Download
Safer Chemicals Fact Sheet.pdf Download File
Safer Chemicals Overview.pdf Download File
Safer Chemicals Measures.pdf Download File
Safer Chemicals Measure Details.pdf Download File
Safer Chemicals Numerical Examples.pdf Download File
Safer Chemicals Healthy Interiors Guidance Download File
Furniture Flammability Standards for Hospitals Fact Sheet Download File
HHI Healthy Interiors Fact Sheet Download File

List of Furniture and Materials that Meet the HHI Healthy Interiors Goal

The Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) makes it easier for hospitals to select furniture and materials that meet the Healthy Interiors goal of the Safer Chemicals Challenge.

HHI worked with furniture manufacturers to identify office furniture that meets the Healthy Interiors goal.