(Editor's note: Story updated Dec. 16, 2009, 9:20 a.m. CT)
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — A life-cycle assessment study conducted at the University of Minnesota Medical Center shows that reusable medical textiles are superior to single-use disposables in terms of cost, environmental impact and infection prevention, according to the American Reusable Textile Association (ARTA).
The research conducted at the Medical Center, which houses 2,000 beds and does 20,000 surgical procedures a year, found that reusable medical textiles, including chemo, isolation and surgical gowns, provided a cost savings of up to $200,000 per year and reduced waste by 146,000 pounds per year, ARTA says.
In addition, CO2 emissions were reported to be significantly less than with disposables, while carcinogenic emissions such as arsenic, chromium and lead were significantly lower. There was no reported difference in infection-prevention attributes.
The study is not yet complete — based on feedback from ARTA, the University of Minnesota Medical Center is adding factors and re-analyzing the results. The completed research will be presented at the ARTA Green Summit in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, July 22.