The world’s largest health care and medicine corporation on Tuesday announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the company would implement new technology to reduce air pollution in its health care facilities in order to improve the quality of life for its employees and customers.
International Health Products (IHP) and its recently launched IHP Health and Wellness Initiative will have its clinics, research, information, and testing labs built on technology that monitors air pollution levels, identifies pollution and pollutants, and levels and predicts exposure to them in its facilities in order to reduce potentially hazardous air contaminants including silica, lead, and mercury.
“We are leaders in global health care innovation and we know the biggest impact we can have on the future of our patients and customers comes through our extensive research and development work,” said Michael McDonough, IHP president. “The IHP Health and Wellness Initiative will further integrate research into the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and control of lifestyle-related diseases.”
This move follows the company’s announcement in October 2017 that it would commit to reducing the equivalent of 17.6 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
There is a strong correlation between the health of individuals and their environment and as global climate change continues to rise, these health company’s policies that aim to curb climate-changing emissions will play a big role in helping to slow down global warming, said Marc Bastiat, co-director of the Center for Global Change and Peace Studies and professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
“Air pollution is the biggest environmental pollutant in the world,” Bastiat said. “The more pollution, the worse the health effects and the health worse the consequences of the environment.”
If there is an effect that the health industry will be able to have on a variety of health issues, including climate change, then Bastiat believes there is an effect that science can have on mitigating that impact.
By going back to the drawing board and trying to think about how to deal with these issues in the future, he said, scientists could be able to create policy that will be better able to address some of the impacts that global warming is having on the health care industry.
“All of this is very interesting because we know these systems interact and each other,” Bastiat said. “If we can get better at understanding the science of this, it could potentially predict health effects, and this can then be very useful for making decisions about behavior changes.”
Particularly in such an interconnected world, Bastiat added, these types of policy decisions will have a huge impact on the health care industry and that making them is something that all of these health care companies are going to have to think about at a much higher level than it has ever before.
“This is something that not just the health care industry but all of science is going to have to think about at a much higher level than it has ever before,” Bastiat said.