OAKLAND, CA - Healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente will no longer purchase furniture for its facilities that has been treated with flame retardant chemicals.
Company officials say because the flame retardant chemicals have been linked to various health problems - including reproductive issues, cancers and developmental delays in children - furniture using them will be replaced at its 38 hospitals and 600 medical offices.
"Where there is credible evidence that a material might result in harm to the environment or public health, we work to replace it with safer alternatives," said Kathy Gerwig, VP and Kaiser Permanente's environmental stewardship officer.
Kaiser officials expect to replace existing furniture with flame retardant chemicals within the next one to three years. Each year Kaiser Permanente spends approximately $30 million on various furnishings for its hospitals, medical offices and other buildings. The decision could impact more than 38 hospitals and 600 medical offices in eight states and the District of Columbia.
In 2010, Kaiser Permanente launched its Sustainability Scorecard to provide preference to eco-friendly suppliers and products.
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