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Great River Medical Center Wins National Award for Eliminating Toxic Mercury

May 18, 2007 – Great River Medical Center has received the Making Medicine Mercury-free Award from Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E). The prestigious national award commends Great River Medical Center for outstanding efforts to eliminate mercury from the health-care system.

“By eliminating mercury wherever possible, Great River Medical Center is demonstrating to its patients, employees and community that mercury and its associated risks have no place in health care,” said Laura Brannen, H2E’s executive director. “There are safe and cost-effective alternatives to mercury. Great River Medical Center deserves our thanks for addressing this critical threat to our health and the environment.”

Jointly founded by the American Hospital Association, Environmental Protection Agency, Health Care without Harm and American Nurses Association, H2E is an independent not-for-profit organization focused on improving health care’s environmental performance. H2E envisions a health-care system committed to reduced waste volume and toxicity, efficient energy and water use, clean air, safe work practices and safe buildings.

One of H2E’s top goals is the elimination of mercury from the health-care system wherever possible. Mercury — a potent neurotoxin and developmental toxin — can impair human health at extremely low levels of exposure, and health-care facilities can be major contributors to mercury air emissions.

The Making Medicine Mercury-free Award is a one-time award given to facilities that have met the challenge of becoming virtually mercury-free.

“We believe that our mission to promote the health of our community includes protecting the environment,” said Mark Richardson, president and CEO, Great River Medical Center. “Making our community healthier by replacing mercury devices in our facility with safe and effective alternatives just makes sense. We are proud to be recognized for our efforts.”

The leading national force in helping hospitals with environmental improvement, H2E provides practical solutions through a Web site packed with resources, regular teleconferences offering expert help for environmental challenges, and an e-mail-list service that brings colleagues across the country together to share best practices and strategies for pollution prevention. This month, at the 2007 H2E Environmental Excellence Summit in Minneapolis, H2E honored nearly 130 organizations for outstanding work through its annual awards program. To learn more, visit www.h2e-online.org.