Could your everyday school cleaning supplies be contributing to childhood asthma and cancer?
Could these school janitorial supplies also have a negative effect on the custodial staff who use them or the school teaching and administrative staff who work in these buildings?
Testing conducted for the Environmental Working Group, concerning cleaning supplies used in some of California's school districts has revealed some of these cleaning supplies release airborne chemicals, including a number that have been linked to asthma or cancer by state and federal health authorities.
The testing of 21 cleaners from these schools found that when used as directed, the products released six chemicals known to cause asthma, 11 contaminants that are known, probable, or possible cancer-causing substances in humans, and hundreds of other compounds for which there is little or no hazard information.
If these findings hold true in California, why wouldn't they hold true in other school districts through out the country? To go a step further, couldn't the cleaning supplies used in office buildings and even our homes pose a similar health risk?
The purpose of this article is not to point a finger at a specific cleaner brand as being harmful but rather to bring to the reader's attention the need to change from the use of toxic chemical cleaners to safer and healthier cleaning products that won't cause health issues for the user or the building occupants.
In today's world, a logical alternative to these conventional school cleaning supplies would be to use green cleaning products. In fact, many schools that are conscious of the health risks of toxic cleaning chemicals have switched to green cleaning supplies, many of which are independently certified as being free of harmful ingredients.
Overall these certified green cleaners reduce chemical exposure because they release less measurable air contaminants and they produce lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC's).
However, when tested, some of these certified green cleaners release measurable levels of substances that could pose a risk to children's health.
Although independent certification of green cleaning products is a step in the right direction, the certification is not foolproof and continually needs to be fine tuned.
To compound the problem, cleaning product labels are not required by law to list ingredients. This enables cleaning product manufacturers to use almost any chemical in their formulations or to go as far as to make misleading claims about their products. Without complete information, it can be difficult to make a school cleaning supplies purchase that's safe for the user and building occupant.
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