INFORM’s Cleaning for Health project aims to protect custodial workers, students and other building occupants, and the environment from the adverse impacts of cleaning chemicals by identifying toxic substances of concern and promoting the use of safer products and practices.
Cleaning for health (green cleaning) is a practice that addresses toxic substances contained in cleaning products. The chemicals contained in traditional cleaners can cause a range of health effects from numbness in the extremities and lung irritation to severe burns and neurological damage. Some chemicals and fragrances in cleaners can also cause or exacerbate asthma.
The chemicals contained in cleaners are particularly worrisome because using cleaners exposes custodial staff, children and other building occupants to these chemicals. (With other products, exposure to the toxic substances occurs primarily if the product is misused; with cleaners, some level of exposure is nearly unavoidable.)
Green cleaning substitutes traditional cleaners with those that contain fewer or less-toxic substances. (No product is entirely toxic free.) Green cleaning also requires a change in cleaning practices and equipment; for example, floors in low-traffic areas are cleaned less frequently than those in high-traffic areas, or vacuums with high-performance filters are used to prevent dirt from reentering the atmosphere.
INFORM partners with the American Lung Association of New England, NHCOSH, Association of Vermont Recyclers, Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Vermont, Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut, the RI Committee on Occupational Safety & Health, MASSCOSH, Healthy Schools Network, the American Federation of Teachers, AFSCME International, and others on this important work.
Cleaning for Healthy Schools Toolkit
You Are Invited to the Premiere Presentations of the Cleaning for Healthy Schools Toolkit
- Did you know: 25% of chemicals in the cleaning products used in schools are toxic and contribute to poor indoor air quality and smog, and cancer, asthma, and other diseases?
- Did you know that two states require schools to use green cleaning products?
The free, online Cleaning for Healthy Schools Toolkit will educate you about green cleaning. It can also be tailored to create state or local educational programs for agencies, education officials, workers, and parents and communities. The externally reviewed training tools are also ‘open-source’ and ‘industry-free’– in short, a unique, comprehensive program to advance policy and practices that help safeguard child and adult health, reduce the use of toxic chemicals, cost-effectively improve cleaning, and improve school IAQ.
TOOLKIT WEBINAR PREMIERES
(each Webinar is a separate session with different handouts; you must register for each one you wish to attend)
- Tuesday, Sept. 16th, 1-2 p.m. Eastern, 10-11 a.m. Pacific
Cleaning for Healthy Schools- What is it? – For all audiences
Presented by Virginia Mott, ALA-New England and Deborah Moore, Green Schools Initiative
- Tuesday, Sept. 23rd, 1-2 p.m. Eastern, 10-11 a.m. Pacific
Getting Started– The school building walk-through; tips for parents and communities
Presented by Allan Wakefield, Consulting Facility Director and Claire Barnett, Healthy Schools Network/Coalition for Healthier Schools
- Tuesday, Oct. 7th, 1-2 p.m. Eastern, 10-11 a.m. Pacific
In-School: Initiating a Cleaning for Healthy Schools Program– what schools need to know
Presented by Carol Westinghouse, INFORM
- Tuesday, Oct. 14th, 1-2 p.m. Eastern, 10-11 a.m. Pacific
Chemicals/Hazard Communication: your health and right to know – for workers
Presented by Denise Bowles, AFSCME and Tolle Graham, MassCOSH/Healthy Schools Network