Green Cleaning in Schools: Good for Students, the Environment, and the Bottom Line
Green cleaning is cleaning to protect health that does not harm the environment. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require cleaning products to list ingredients, and as a result many chemical cleaners contain a number of known human toxics or carcinogens. Fumes from some cleaning products have been shown to induce asthma in otherwise healthy individuals.
The environment has a much greater effect on children than it does on adults. Children breathe more air and drink more water per pound of body weight, and their organ systems are still developing. Research has shown that attendance and test scores are lower due to poor indoor air quality. Since children spend so much of their time at school, it is important that the school environment is healthy so that children are not at risk of missing valuable learning time.
Children who play on the floor often put their hands in their mouths, making them more likely to expose themselves to chemicals via hand-to-mouth contact. Residues from cleaning products can also cause burns or rashes on children’s skin, especially if the product was used incorrectly or in excess.
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Furthermore, green cleaning is good for the environment. Approximately 23 million tons of carbon emissions would be saved if all schools in the United States switched to green cleaning techniques. It also saves money. One school district in New York saved $365,000 after switching to a green cleaning program. This frees up funds to be allocated towards educational programs rather than routine building maintenance.
It is important to choose products that protect human health. Choose products that:
- Have been certified by a third party (such as Green Seal, Eco Logo or Safer Choices
- Contain no known or probable carcinogens
- Have a neutral pH
- Are free of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which easily evaporate into the air
- Are not packaged in aerosol or spray cans
- Are non-irritating to eyes or skin
- Do not contain fragrances
Green cleaning is beneficial for children, employees, buildings, and school districts’ budgets. In school districts where gree cleaning is already incorporated, test scores and attendance are up and costs are down. Urge your children’s school district to adopt green cleaning procedures. Contact us to learn how you can make an impact.