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Red Cross Blood Services ’Going Green’


Companies around the country are becoming aware of their impact on the environment, and the American Red Cross is joining the movement to create a more environmentally friendly workplace at more than 100 of its Biomedical Services offices nationwide.

Using a process developed by Dolphin Safe Source, a leading chemical inventory management and inventory analysis firm, the Red Cross is reviewing and streamlining its inventories to find safer chemical alternatives for employees. It hopes to complete the process by mid-2008.

The American Red Cross currently uses more than 10,000 products across its Blood Services Region offices. The majority of those chemicals are included in more than 300 Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) categories, which include things like glass cleaner, or motor oil for company vehicles. Prior to the start of this program, there were no standards in place for such purchases, and a review found that more than 2,000 products are classified as extremely hazardous, while others contain mercury, lead, or carcinogens.

“We are looking to add more discipline in what we buy across the organization,” said Dee Cozart, Senior Director of Corporate Safety, “so that we can reduce our toxicity, while at the same time controlling costs and taking advantage of economies of scale.”

The review and reduction program will be phased in over 10 months, and will look at each category of products separately, substituting materials that are less toxic but just as effective for future purchases. Instead of hundreds of materials in each category, Cozart’s team is taking input from several employees in field offices to designate a few of the most effective or popular, while ensure buy-in with the process at the same time.

“We envision this process as a best practice that the rest of the Red Cross can eventually carry forward,” said Cozart. “It’s a safe, efficient, and cost effective way to do business all the time.”

The American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Last year, almost a million volunteers and 35,000 employees helped victims of almost 75,000 disasters; taught lifesaving skills to millions; and helped U.S. service members separated from their families stay connected. Almost 4 million people gave blood through the Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The American Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.


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