The use of plastics in healthcare is self-contradictory.  On one-hand, plastics have embedded themselves into medicine, permeating throughout as an essential part of providing care.  On the other hand, the medical community is increasingly acknowledging the harmful impact of plastics on human health.  To some, navigating this contraction could seem a daunting, if not impossible, task.

To some, but not all.

Over the past several months, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with anesthesia colleagues, both within and outside of UHN who, in addition to being passionate about healthcare, are passionate about environmental health and sustainability.  The result, “A Roadmap for Environmental Sustainability of Plastic Use in Anesthesia and the Perioperative Arena”, has just been published in the October issue of Anesthesiology, a journal put out by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).

Sure the road to sustainable healthcare is long, and even more sure that there will be many unexpected twists, turns, potholes and bumps (not to mention other clichés) along the way.  But every journey begins with a single step (again, with the clichés)…and not only are we several steps into this trip, but also now have a map to help guide us along the way.

Congratulations to my co-authors, especially lead author Maggie Xiao from the University of Alberta’ s Faculty of Medicine, and the many other health care professionals taking these ever so important early steps!

Blog addendum:

As some people have noted, the reference article is behind a paywall.  Readers working in a healthcare or education setting may be able to access the article through a work library (special note to fellow UHNers: it looks like you need to submit an article request to the UHN Virtual Library for this one…link works only for those on the UHN system), but for those who don’t, the road map looks at the opportunities to implement the 6Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle, reprocessing, rethink and research) in anesthesisa and perioperative care.