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Am J Public Health. 2012 Dec;102(12):e76-82. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300776. Epub 2012 Oct 18.

The energy burden and environmental impact of health services.

Author information

1
Anton Breinl Centre for Public Health and Tropical Medicine, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia. Lawrence.Brown@my.jcu.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We reviewed the English-language literature on the energy burden and environmental impact of health services.

METHODS:

We searched all years of the PubMed, CINAHL, and ScienceDirect databases for publications reporting energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, or the environmental impact of health-related activities. We extracted and tabulated data to enable cross-comparisons among different activities and services; where possible, we calculated per patient or per event emissions.

RESULTS:

We identified 38 relevant publications. Per patient or per event, health-related energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are quite modest; in the aggregate, however, they are considerable. In England and the United States, health-related emissions account for 3% and 8% of total national emissions, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although reducing health-related energy consumption and emissions alone will not resolve all of the problems of energy scarcity and climate change, it could make a meaningful contribution.

PMID:
23078475
PMCID:
PMC3519304
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2012.300776
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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