October 1, 2007

green, clean schools

As I've been researching the use of green cleaners I learned how strong chemical cleaners (not the "green" or "eco" kind) can be really dangerous to your health as well as to the planet. Most people make the switch to green cleaners at home. If it is a priority to keep your kids safe by using green cleaning products at home, why shouldn't the same products be used at your kid's school?

The Green Guide says, "One third of cleaning chemicals used to clean U.S. schools are known to cause human health and/or environmental problems. States like New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey have passed state-wide legislation requiring all schools to use green cleaning products, but their efforts haven’t taken hold nationwide. Encourage your state to pass legislation similar to these states if they have not already."

Green Clean Schools from The Healthy Schools Campaign has great info on the how's and why's of greening the cleaning of your child's school.

Schools cleaned safely not only benefit the children, but the staff who cleans them. MassCOSH says, " In 2005, custodians in four Boston Public Schools successfully led pilot projects substituting hazardous cleaning products with “green” cleaning products, targeting schools with high rates of asthma. In 2006, Boston Public Schools announced that it would change its contracts to purchase only green products in the future."

But there is no need to wait for a law to require safer cleaning products in your schools. New American Dream offers a guide to help your school develop and implement a green cleaning program.

Not only will taking the initiative keep your kids and community safe, it will serve as a great example to the children about caring for the environment.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some teachers are taking initiative and cleaning green in their classrooms to teach their students. I know a lot of teachers using BabyGanics on the desks. I tried the line at home and think it works great! Recommend your student's teacher to do the same.

Cheryl said...

I am very surprised that New Jersey passed Green legislation regarding cleaning products in schools. New Jersey is ususally not the first in anything except high property taxes and car insurance. But I feel a little better because I work in a NJ school, and they changed to a powdered rug cleaner. That concerned me because it is laid on the floor and just vacuumed up. What chemicals are left behind and in what concentration for my kids to come in contact with when they sit on the floor? It is something I plan to ask about....

mom go green said...

Cheryl, you've got me wondering. I'm checking my sources. I know my info came from the green guide, but am looking for more to back it up. I did see that New Jersey requires that all new schools be built according to LEED standards. I have also found that the govenor passed legislation requiring green cleaning in all state-owned buildings, but that it is yet to be implemented. Maybe I'll try making a few phone calls to clear this up. Your carpets may or may not be green cleaned!

Heather @ EnviroMom said...

In Oregon we have a program that certifies childcare/preschools as "eco-healthy" and green cleaners are strongly encouraged: http://www.oeconline.org/kidshealth/ehcc/

A lot of people are stuck on bleach -- they think you have to use bleach on EVERYTHING in the classroom to get rid of germs and bacteria. In reality, the only time you really need to use bleach is to clean up bodily fluids like blood or urine. I was surprised at how resistant parents at my co-op were to the idea of NOT using bleach! Ack.

Anonymous said...

The State of New Jersey has only passed the requirement for Green Cleaning in State and Municipal Facilties and unfortunately not in our public schools. We need more people to try to push to make this change happen in New Jersey and get the word out that traditional cleaning products are dangerous and can pose serious health problems and contribute to our polluted environment.