THE GOOD GREEN SCHOOLS GUIDE

A PUBLICATION FOR SCHOOL MAINTENANCE DIRECTORS AND FACILITIES MANAGERS

 

 

Information And Resources For Transitioning

To Green Cleaning And Reduced Pesticide Use

At Schools And Day Care Centers

Everybody Is “Going Green”
Here’s What You Need To Do So

In The Most Responsible, Effective

And Economical Way

 

 

To Share Comments Or Questions, Contact:

 

TOXICS INFORMATION PROJECT (TIP)

LIBERTY GOODWIN, TIP DIRECTOR

P.O. Box 40441, Providence, RI 02940

Tel. 401-351-9193, E-Mail: TIP@toxicsinfo.org

WEBSITE:  WWW.TOXICSINFO.ORG  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


GOING GREEN…ON AND OFF THE FIELD

PJC ECOLOGICAL LAND CARE works with your facilities staff or landscape service provider to transition your lawns and athletic fields to an All Natural Turf Care Program that is effective, affordable and sustainable for generations.

 

Be a part of the dramatic shift from chemical lawn care practices to All Natural Turf Care.  It’s never too late to start - contact us today:  E-Mail:  Info@pjcecological.com

Tel. 978-432-1019, Website: www.pjcecological.com.

 

THE GOOD GREEN SCHOOLS GUIDE

For Safer, Healthier, Kid-Friendly Environments

 

A TIP Less Toxic Living Guide,

© 2009, Liberty Goodwin

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

P. 2    Why Green Cleaning for Schools

P. 3    Introduction, Comments, Stakeholders’ Group

P. 4    Health Effects/Concerns for Cleaning Workers 

P. 5    Tips for Good Green Schools

P. 7    Success Stories & Cost-Effectiveness

P. 8     Suggested Standards for a Good Green School or Day Care     Center:  Green Seal, EcoLogo, NIBS

P. 9    Problem Solving the Toughies: Standards & Solutions for Disinfectants & Sanitizers, Mold & Bleach, Hand Sanitizers

P. 14   Other Indoor School Concerns:  Huffing, Whiteboard   Cleaners, Unauthorized Toxins, Fragranced Products

P. 15    School Green Cleaning Resources

P.  17   School Pesticide Concerns

P.  18   Can Organic Grounds Care Be Effective & Affordable? 

Rubber Mulch & Artificial Turf Toxicity

P. 19    Resources for Less Toxic Grounds Care 

 

BACK COVER:  Green Facilities Sign

 

 

KEEP THE INFORMATION FLOWING!

 

This directory is being distributed free by TIP to enhance the health & well-being of staff and students in RI (& other) schools. 

 

PASS IT ALONG TO SCHOOL MAINTENANCE

DIRECTORS AND ADMINISTRATORS

 

Help us sustain this outreach and TIP’s efforts for “Lighting the Way to Less Toxic Living”!  Send a donation towards printing costs to: Toxics Information Project (TIP), P.O. Box 40441, Providence, RI 02906 OR contribute on our website at: www.toxicsinfo.org/subscribe.htm by credit card or PayPal.  Questions?  Call 401-351-9193

 


WHY GREEN CLEANING FOR SCHOOLS?

 

HOW ARE KIDS AT GREATER RISK?  Children are more vulnerable than adults to toxic exposures.  Children have developing organs, do not detoxify as quickly, and breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults.  They have frequent hand-to-mouth contact,  which can lead to the accidental ingestion of harmful chemicals.  Adverse exposures and injuries during childhood may have a lifetime impact on health. 

 

THE INSIDE STORY:  The Federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates that human exposure to air pollutants indoors can be two to five times and occasionally up to 100 times higher than outdoor levels.  Children, custodians, teachers, and other school staff members spend a significant part of their lives in school buildings and are exposed to chemicals from cleaning products, air fresheners, and disinfectants.  

 

HEALTH EFFECTS:  Institutional cleaning products can contain ingredients that have been linked to new onset asthma, cancer, reproductive problems, developmental disorders, hormone disruption and asthma triggering episodes.  Also, the National Institute of Building Sciences states that “the presence of perfume, cologne, scented cleaners & other scented products contribute to poor indoor air quality & is one of the major access barriers for people with asthma & multiple chemical sensitivities.”

 

COST CONSIDERATIONS: Health threats caused by the presence of chemicals in institutional cleaning products can result in increased costs to individual schools, school districts and the state in terms of staff time and effort, cleanup costs, school closings and student and staff absenteeism.  Custodial workers and teachers have high occupational asthma rates.

 

EFFECTIVE LESS-TOXIC OPTIONS:  Safer alternatives that are comparable in form, function and utility to conventional cleaning products containing toxic constituents have been found to be effective, cost-neutral, already in use in many schools, and are readily available in the marketplace.

 


INTRODUCTION:  CHOOSING TO BE A GREEN SCHOOL
IT CAN BE DONE!  FACILITIES MANAGERS AROUND
THE COUNTRY ARE SUCCESSFULLY MAKING THE CHANGE
TO GREEN PRACTICES AND PRODUCTS.
 
This Guide provides a wealth of info and resources to help you do likewise!  NY & CT have laws in place requiring green cleaning in schools (using 3rd party certified products), and RI, MA, VT & ME have similar bills in the hopper.  This is the way to go!

 

COMMENTS FROM FRED KOELBEL  (Past President, NY Assoc. of Superintendents of Buildings & Grounds, SFMI Co-Chair, Port Jefferson UFSD, a successfully green facilities pro): “We primarily purchase & use Green Seal certified products - all purpose cleaner, hand soap, paper towels, toilet tissue.  We’re phasing in micro- floor finish & will be stripping floors with a new pad that uses only water. When we bring a new product on board we do in-service training.  This is very important.  Any change no matter how simple, needs explanation and training. And, environmentally preferable products are like any other, some better than others.  You need to do your homework. As the market matures, pricing has become competitive. 

 

COMMENTS FROM JUDITH D'ANGELO RN,  (School Nurse, Kingston Hill Academy, Saunderstown, RI (401) 783-8282:  KHA uses products that are very green & could almost be called “chemical free”.  It is very interesting that even though we eliminated all bleach & disinfectant type products, the illness rate in our school has remained constant if not decreased.  We are not overrun with strep, pinkeye, impetigo or any of those highly contagious illnesses.  One thought is that with less chemicals floating in the air at KHA, we are actually allowing the children’s immune systems to function better.  The chemicals are not inhibiting the kid’s natural defenses. 

 

 

 

JOIN THE “GOOD GREEN SCHOOLS GANG” THAT WILL SHARE TIPS ON SUCCESSFUL GREEN PRODUCTS & PRACTICES.

 

We are gathering facility folk for a support group to give & receive assistance with healthier school maintenance. Contact: Liberty Goodwin, TIP Director, 401-351-9193, liberty@toxicsinfo.org, or Chris Suchmann, Groden Center Network Facilities Manager: 401-641-6922, csuchmann@hotmail.com. Chris is an enthusiastic & knowledgeable advocate of health-friendly building & grounds care.

 

CLEANING PRODUCTS MAY TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY

www.smh.com.au/news/asthma/cleaning-products-may-take-your-breath-away/2006/05/26/1148524878101.html

 

 

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Some cleaning products can worsen breathing problems in cleaning workers who have existing asthma or bronchitis, Spanish researchers report.  "These findings suggest that asthma and chronic bronchitis in domestic cleaners may be, at least partly, irritant-aggravated," Dr. Jan-Paul Zock of the Municipal Medical Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona and his colleagues conclude.  Recent research has found an increased risk of asthma and other breathing problems in cleaning workers, especially women, they note in their report in the European Respiratory Journal.  Bleach and some other cleaning products also have been tied to work-related asthma.

 

In a study of 43 women with asthma or chronic bronchitis who worked as domestic cleaners, Zock's team found that women were more likely to have lower respiratory tract symptoms including cough, chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath on the days when they worked cleaning others' homes.  The more hours a woman spent working on a particular day, the more likely she was to have these symptoms.  While there was no association between working days and upper respiratory symptoms such as blocked nose, throat irritation and watery eyes, these symptoms were associated with vacuuming as well as the use of degreasing sprays or atomizers.

 

Women were nearly three times as likely to have lower respiratory tract symptoms on the days when they used diluted bleach, degreasing sprays or atomizers, or air freshening sprays or atomizers, the researchers found.  Reductions in lung function were tied to the use of ammonia, bleach and degreasing sprays.  Lung function tests suggested that 30 percent of the women had work-related asthma, the researchers found, although it was not possible to distinguish between existing asthma & newly occurring asthma in the current study.

 

Further study is needed, the researchers conclude, to investigate the effects of cleaning products on lung function & symptoms in other categories of cleaning workers, as well as the general population. 

FROM: European Respiratory Journal. Copyright ©2006 Reuters Ltd.

TIPS FOR GOOD GREEN SCHOOLS

 

(The Short List on Green Cleaning)

 

Maintenance folk are School AND Health Professionals.  They are on the front lines of creating and keeping a safe, environmentally friendly and people/health friendly environment in schools and day care centers, on a daily basis.  Below are some factors that can make the difference.  Following in this little booklet will be further info and resources to help those doing this important work.

 

**Greenwashing is A Dirty Tactic.  “Going Green” is the “in” thing, so everybody is announcing, “We’re Green!”  Easy to say, but not all talking the talk are walking the walk.  Don’t be fooled! 

 

**The Puzzle of Poisons.  What’s actually in the cleaning products used?  Manufacturers mostly won’t tell all, and try to confuse with terms like “natural” and “non-toxic”, but many ingredients are carcinogens, asthmagens, endocrine disrupters. 

 

**Third Parties Protect.  That’s why 3rd Party Certification is needed.  GreenSeal & EcoLogo set standards and do testing to learn what chemicals are included, and provide lists of safer products.  They also check to see if they work as advertised.

 

**Who’s On First?  Custodians are the first to be exposed to any toxic chems in cleaning products and have extremely high rates of asthma as a result, along with other possible health effects. (See P. 4) Teachers and kids are likewise vulnerable.

 

**Knowledge is Power.  Knowing which products are safe, effective and healthier is a win-win.  Training in their best and proper use can result in cost savings and good cleaning results. 

 

**Mats Are Marvelous.  Start out by cutting off dirt at the pass! Mats at entrances can give you a lot less dirt  (often laden with pesticides) with which to deal.

 

**The Dilution Solution   Some folks think “green” could cost more.  But one key to reducing expense is the savvy use of concentrated cleaners.  Use less, save money, but get results! 

 


**Toughies Can Be Tamed.  Mold is a difficult adversary, but there are ways to defeat it that are far healthier - and actually more effective - than toxic bleach. (See info on P. 10-11)

 

**Bleach is Bad.  Chlorine and its byproducts are very toxic, especially dangerous to folks with asthma and other respiratory problems.  Even where sanitizing is required (and that is not everywhere, but only sensitive areas), there are less toxic alternatives.  EPA-Approved Sanitizers are an acceptable substitute.  (See info about these on P. 9 & P. 12-13)

 

**The “Smell of Clean”.  Building occupants used to toxic products often confuse strong smells or fragrance with good hygiene. The true “smell of clean” is no smell at all.  Educate  folks in your facility with the explanatory sign on the back cover of this Guide.  A full-size download is on the TIP website at:

www.toxicsinfo.org/healthyschools/greenfacilitiessign.htm  

 

**Steam Doesn’t Stink!.  One way some schools are avoiding toxic fumes is by using steam cleaners for a variety of tasks.

Consult with some of our listed resources for possibilities.

 

**Teach the Teachers.  Don’t let your good work be undermined by staff members who unknowingly buy and bring toxic cleaners to school to use in their classrooms.  Share your good stuff and pass along lists of less-toxic alternatives.

 

**In Unity There is Strength.  Costs can be contained by using combined purchasing.  Consider getting together with others in your district or outside to buy in bulk. Watch for a possible state bid on which to piggyback.

 

**Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel.  Learn from others who have tried the green cleaning route & made it work.  (See success stories on P. 7 & 18).  Consider joining the Good Green Schools Gang, an informal group of maintenance professionals sharing info on what works and doesn’t.  (See info on P. 3)

 

**Start Small to Seek Success.  Try it out!  If you wonder whether a new product will work, test it on a small area. That way, you’ll know its effectiveness before buying in bulk. 

GREEN CLEAN SCHOOLS:  SUCCESS STORIES

From The Healthy Schools Campaign:

www.healthyschoolscampaign.org/programs/gcs/success.php

 

Green Schools, By Christine Stapleton, Palm Beach Post, 4-21-08

In the Palm Beach County School District, a 3-month green cleaning pilot program at Grassy Waters Elementary School & Jeaga Middle School proved that green cleaning saves money. The district saved $512.86 at one of the schools during the 3-month pilot.  Imagine that kind of savings spread over the district’s approximately 180 schools. The district claims that green cleaning “results in lower teacher absenteeism.”…The program includes switching to Green Seal certified custodial products, changing to microfiber cleaning cloths, converting to vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters, replacing missing entrance mats. (Plans were to phase in green cleaning products at all district schools starting June, 2008). 

 

4-23-08 Comment by Ed Grotte: “My district in Flossmoor, IL went green 8 months ago & I know we had to have saved money due to going from 8 or 9 cleaning products down to 3.  I also believe us using green products has kept our sick days to a minimum (custodial).”

 

Cost-Effectiveness of Green Products:  In 2003-2004, a Healthy Schools Campaign-led pilot project introduced green cleaning in the Chicago Public Schools. The price of Green Seal products was found to be cost-competitive with traditional products.  In addition, the study found that not only were green cleaning products readily available, they also performed as well if not better than conventional products.

 

 

ARAMARK GREEN CLEANING

ARAMARK has a growing list of third party green certified products (verified by GreenSeal, EcoLogo, CRI), available through our Facilities Supply Chain, such as:

Equipment: automatic floor scrubbers, burnishers, extractors, large area sweepers, roto floor machines, tank vacs, vacuums.

Supplies - General purpose, glass & bathroom cleaners, floor finish & stripper, carpet pre-spray & extraction products, hand soaps.  Paper towels, bathroom tissues & toilet paper.  Micro-Fiber, an essential green cleaning tool.  Matting, to help prevent dust, dirt, pollen & other debris from being tracked into your facilities.

 

RI Contact: Rupert Burtan,  Providence Public Schools

burtan-rupert@aramark.com, 401-278-2855

STANDARDS FOR SCHOOL & DAY CARE MAINTENANCE

 

GS_cert_colGREEN SEAL (www.greenseal.org):

Green Seal is an independent, non-profit organization that has standards for various categories including Industrial & Institutional Cleaners (GS-37), Industrial & Institutional Floor Care Products (GS-40), and Industrial & Institutional Hand Cleaners (GS-41. A revised edition of GS-37 was issued on August 29, 2008. Products certified under the previous editions of GS-37 have until November 29, 2009, to comply with the revised standard.  All Green Seal certified products must:

 

* Be sold in concentrated form  * Contain recyclable packaging

* Pass a cleaning efficacy test  * Remain non-corrosive to skin or eyes

* Pass oral, inhalation, dermal and aquatic toxicity tests

* Pass a biodegradability test  * Exclude prohibited ingredients - including heavy metals, alkylphenol ethoxylates, dibutyl phthalate

 

EcoLogo_E&S_Outline&Wordmar ECOLOGO:  (www.ecologo.org) 

EcoLogoCM is a third-party ecolabelling program, one of only two standards in North America approved by the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN). EcoLogoCM standards for cleaning products include Floor Care Products (CCD-147), Hardsurface Cleaners (CCD-146), Hand Cleaners (CCD-104), Carpet & Upholstery Cleaners (CCD-148) and many others.  The criteria development and review process is scientifically rigorous & includes stakeholder input &  public consultation on draft criteria.

 

Standards Development:  www.ecologo.org/en/criteria/process

 

Professional Purchasers: Search Green Products and Services www.ecologo.org/en/greenproducts/professional   

 

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BUILDING SCIENCES (NIBS)

INDOOR AIR QUALITY REPORT

Operations & Maintenance, http://ieq.nibs.org/om/bi_intro.php

 

Recommended Actions For Facility Managers and Operations

 & Maintenance Staff, http://ieq.nibs.org/om/ra_intro.php

 

Detailed Recommendations for Pest Control

http://ieq.nibs.org/om/app_pests.php

 

Detailed Recommendations for Cleaning & Disinfecting

http://ieq.nibs.org/om/app_cleaning.php

 

CLOUDS OF CHLORINE - IS IT NECESSARY?

 

 

RI DCYF Family Child Care Home Regulations, 10/01/07, Page 12

www.dcyf.state.ri.us/docs/family_child_care_home.pdf

The diaper changing area shall be cleaned and sanitized after each use. A disinfectant solution of ¼ cup of bleach to one (1) gallon of water OR AN EPA APPROVED SANITIZING AGENT shall be kept readily available in a spray bottle for this purpose.

 

*****************************************************************************

SANITIZE SAFELY AND EFFECTIVELY:

BLEACH & ALTERNATIVES IN CHILD CARE PROGRAMS.

 

California Childcare Health Program, www.ucsfchildcarehealth.org

 

DEFINITIONS:  CLEAN, SANITIZE, DISINFECT (Oct. 2008)

 

CLEAN:  To physically remove all visible dirt and contamination.  The friction of cleaning removes most germs and exposes any remaining germs to the effects of a sanitizer or disinfectant used later. 

** Wipe or scrub washable surfaces with household soap or detergent.

 

SANITIZE:  To reduce germs on inanimate surfaces to levels considered safe by public health codes or regulations.

**An EPA-registered disinfectant product in accordance with the directions provided by the manufacturer for “sanitizing”.

 

DISINFECT:  To destroy or inactivates any germs on any inanimate object.

**Applying an EPA-registered disinfectant product in accordance with the directions provided by the manufacturer for “disinfecting”.

*******************************************************************************

CAN YOU DISINFECT WITHOUT BLEACH?  EPA SAYS YES!

 

A new line of germicides containing “accelerated hydrogen peroxide” (AHP) includes products that are registered with EPA as broad-spectrum, hospital-grade disinfectants capable of killing bacteria (including antibiotic-resistant MRSA strains), viruses (including the common cold Rhinovirus and the common flu Influenza viruses)! While these products are not certified as “green” (because EPA does not allow this), they are considered safer than traditional disinfectants

FROM:  National Collaborative Work Group on Green Cleaning and Chemical Policy Reform in Schools Commissioned Technical Rebuttal Memorandum.  See at: www.cleaningforhealthyschools.org

 

 

US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY OFFICE OF PESTICIDE PROGRAMS LIST A: EPA’S REGISTERED ANTIMICROBIAL PRODUCTS REGISTERED WITH THE EPA AS STERILIZERS, January 9, 2009  www.epa.gov/oppad001/chemregindex.htm

 


DOES BLEACH REALLY KILL MOLD?

 

CHLORINE BLEACH AND MOLD CLEAN UP

(LET'S SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT!)

www.spore-tech.com/viewCategory.asp?idCategory=78

 

 

The Myth:  A myth exists concerning the use and “effectiveness” of chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) in the remediation of a mold problem.  Mold remediation involves the removal and/or clean up & restoration of mold-contaminated building materials.

 

Opposing Views and Confusion.  Chlorine bleach, commonly referred to as laundry bleach, is generally perceived to be an “accepted and answer-all” biocide to abate mold in the remediation processes. Well-intentioned recommendations of health departments and other state and local agencies are perpetuating that belief. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) who once recommended using chlorine bleach for mold abatement was the first federal agency to stop recommending the use of liquid bleach in mold remediation. Subsequently, the Environmental Protection Agency revised their “Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home” (EPA 402-k-02-003) to exclude their once recommended use of bleach as a mold clean-up agent.

  
Why Chlorine Bleach is NOT Recommended for Mold Remediation.  Chlorine bleach is corrosive and that fact is stated on the product label (not to mention the exposure hazards of dioxins). Yet the properties of chlorine bleach prevent it from “soaking into” wood-based building materials to get at the deeply embedded mycelia (roots) of mold. The object to killing mold is to kill its “roots”.

 

*******************************************************************************

 

MOLD IS BACK AND IT MAY BE BECAUSE OF THE BLEACH

 

www.eagletribune.com/punews/local_story_197064703/resources_printstory

 

By Brad Haynes. Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, MA, July 16, 2006

Bleach kills living mold but not the seed-like spores.  Bleach was as effective as water at long-term mold extermination in a 2004 study at Oregon State University.  "Bleach doesn't kill mold," said Vanessa Chirichiello, a mold inspector with Peer Living Systems in North Andover, certified by the Natl. Organization of Remediators & Mold Inspectors (NORMI). "That just bleaches it."  

More precisely, bleach will kill the living organism on contact, but won't destroy the spores - essentially, seeds - underneath. That is why, despite the cleanup, mold has suddenly reappeared with the spore-friendly weather. 

 

"You're killing what's alive, but the roots and the carcass tend to stay there," explained Jeff Coco, North Andover director of emergency management, who has recently received a half-dozen new mold complaints from flood-damaged homes. "It's like mowing your lawn down to bare earth - the vegetation is gone, but the roots remain. And with the right conditions it will spring up again."

 

What Will Get Rid of Mold?

 

**Remove any mold-infected materials. 

**Dry out the environment with dehumidifiers, fans & open windows.

**Microbe-killing enzymes and biocides can be more effective, economical, & environmentally friendly than bleach.

 

Best Solution: Keep Dry:

What all experts agreed on was the fundamental solution to a mold problem: keeping the environment dry once it's gone.  "Most people with a mold problem have a humidity and moisture problem," Hoffman said, "so the conditions are right for it to come back."  Benoit agreed:  “Resolve the moisture problem & clean it up - a dehumidifier can pull as much as 5 gallons out of the air every day.”

****************************************************************************

LINKS TO OTHER MOLD INFO & CLEANERS

 

**Crisis Cleaning-Mold & Mildew (Including Top Ten Mold Mistakes to Avoid) www.childrenofhoarders.com/Clng_Mold_Mildew.php

 

**Secrets Of How To Look For Black Mold  Encapsulation, Mold

Cleaning 101.  By Safe Shield: http://hubpages.com/hub/Black-Mold  

 

First, stay away from bleach to kill mold.  The bleach is a more harsh chemical than mold spores… Believe it or not, more people are allergic to bleach then black mold.  So to effectively kill mold, be sure to use a natural cleaning product that will remove the mold entirely, but also have those special ingredients to block and prevent it from growing back.   Products that do this are classified as mold treatment products and encapsulation mold products.

 

**Mold Remedy Success in His Facility - From a Research Scientist

www.toxicsinfo.org/house/MoldRemedyEndorsement.htm

 


 

 

ANTIBACTERIAL & HAND SANITIZER TIPS

 

WHAT’S IN SOAP?  A 2001 study found that 76% of all liquid soaps and 29% of bar soaps now contain antibacterial agents.  Two of the most commonly used ingredients in anti-bacterial soaps are triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC).  Research has shown that triclocarban can amplify the effect of the testosterone hormone, and other studies have linked these products to hormone disruption, which may result in early puberty, reproductive issues & breast cancer.

 

WHAT’S IN GELS & WIPES? Sanitizers and wipes advertised as antibacterial or antimicrobial contain alcohol or quaternary ammonium compounds as the effective ingredient. These have not necessarily been tested for daily use with children.  Some quaternary ammonium compounds have been associated with asthma and with fertility problems in mice.

 

ANTIMICROBIAL VS. ANTIBACTERIAL?  Antimicrobial products contain a chemical that can kill or suppress microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses or fungi.  Antibacterial products kill bacteria and some, but not all viruses.  Colds and flu are caused by viruses, not bacteria. This is why antibacterial soaps, gels and wipes are a limited form of hand hygiene.

 

CAN AND SHOULD WE ELIMINATE ALL BACTERIA?  Bacteria are found on our skin, in our digestive tract, in the air, in soil, and on almost all the things we touch every day. Most are harmless (non-pathogenic). These helpful strains keep harmful microorganisms in check. They also help our digestion to function effectively & stimulate development of a healthy immune system

 

WHAT CLEANS BEST?  A federal drug advisory panel concluded in 2005 that, for general use, antibacterial soaps are no more effective than regular plain soap at removing germs. Since a sanitizer may not remove the dirt, and works poorly on a dirty surface, it may not kill all of the bacteria.  Even if it did, the hands are re-contaminated as soon as something is touched.

 

WHAT ABOUT NUT ALLERGIES?  In cases of allergies to nuts, a study found that liquid and bar soaps and commercial wipes removed proteins (the allergenic component of peanuts) from hands at the same rate, while alcohol based hand sanitizers and plain water were not as effective.

 QUESTIONS FROM TIP SURVEY:  Are You Aware Of The Connection  Between MRSA And Anti-Bacterial Products That Cause Resistant Strains Of Microbes?  How Do You Handle Those Areas That Need Sanitizing?  Have You Found Any Satisfactory Substitutes For Bleach?  RESPONSE FROM FRED KOELBEL:  Hydrogen Peroxide is effective.  However, FIFRA restricts a manufacturer from making any other claims on the label of an EPA certified disinfectant.  So consequently several products are marketed under two different sku’s one a general purpose cleaner and one a disinfectant

 

EXCERPT FROM “THE FOUR BIGGEST ENVIRO-SCAMS

 

 

"Green" Hand Sanitizers: ScamFactor: 6 out of 10.

Hand sanitizers have long relied on green-centric advertising playing up the health benefits of protecting oneself from bacteria, viruses, and other nefarious characters.  Saving water is eco-friendly, & hand sanitizer makers claim that their products let you disinfect your hands without draining your tap (TIP COMMENT: BY THE WAY, IRONICALLY, SOME HAND SANITIZERS INSTRUCT USERS TO WASH HANDS AFTER USE).  Yet the industry has invited dozens of allegations of chemical dangers & poisoning, making it one of the most under-the-radar health hazards out there.  Children, in particular, are susceptible because they're more likely to ingest the alcohol-based substance

 

Several “all-natural” options have emerged promising an "organic, plant-based alternative to chemical-laden hand sanitizers."  But, many “green” hand sanitizers still have alcohol in their formula, hardly a safe or green option. The upside is that consumer watchdog groups are finally taking a more aggressive stance - EcoLogo is creating a set of standards for healthy, green hand sanitizers.  In the meantime, stick to CleanWell, a 100% biodegradable, alcohol-free line.

 

TIP INVESTIGATED “CLEAN WELL” - INFO BELOW

 

Clean Well Hand Sanitizers, www.cleanwelltoday.com/#/facts/

 

Natural antibacterial essential oils - primarily Thyme. Kill 99.9% of germs, including MRSA, E-Coli & Salmonella. No ingestion risk.  Free of toxic chemicals such as Triclosan, Benzalconium Chloride & Alcohol.  (One concern - some sensitive people react to any fragranced product, even all plant-based).

  ADDITIONAL INDOOR SCHOOL CONCERNS

 

**”HUFFING” Kids may use cleaning products such as those containing solvents, or air fresheners such as Glade, to get high.

 

**WHITEBOARD CLEANERS & MARKERS May contain chemicals that can cause headaches or asthma attacks.

 

**IMPORTED TOXINS - Teachers or staff may bring in cans of Raid or other non-green products.  Educating them (diplomatically) is important - as is seeing that the dangerous items are removed.

FRAGRANCED PRODUCTS

From Missouri Kids Health Coalition Site: Comments by  Dr. Claudia S. Miller, M.D., M.S. Professor, Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Assistant Dean, MD/MPH Program, Vice Chair, Community Medicine, Dept. of Family & Community Medicine.  Excerpts: 

http://missourikidshealthcoalition.wetpaint.com/page/Dr.+Claudia+Miller%2C+M.D 

 

“I am particularly concerned about the use of so-called ‘green’ cleaning products that may in fact contain fragranced materials.  

 

Fragrances are complex chemicals, often used to "mask" other odors & give the false impression that air is clean.  Truly clean air has no smell.  About 3000 potentially hazardous chemicals found in fragrance formulations include toluene, formaldehyde, alcohols, styrene, benzene, limonene, musk, & phthalates.  One fragrance formula may contain over 100 chemicals, but their identities are protected as trade secrets, so not on product labels.  Fragrances don’t have to be tested for safety before being put on the market.  

 

Exposure can trigger asthma attacks, migraine headaches, aggravate sinus conditions.  In 1986, the National Academy of Sciences targeted fragrances as one of six categories of chemicals to be given high priority for neurotoxicity testing.  The others include insecticides, heavy metals, solvents, food additives and certain air pollutants.  The report states that 95 percent of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and many other known toxics and sensitizers,  capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders & allergic reactions.

 

NOTE:  FRAGRANCES CONTAIN SOME OF THE SAME CHEMICALS AS FOUND IN SECOND HAND SMOKE!

 

SCHOOL GREEN CLEANING RESOURCES

 

NY OFFICE OF GENERAL SERVICES

 

Environmental Services Unit:  Green Cleaning

https://greencleaning.ny.gov/Entry.asp

 

NYS/OGS funded and participated in the revision of the (Green Seal, Inc.) GS-37 Standard for industrial and institutional cleaners, which was finalized by Green Seal on August 29, 2008.  NYS/OGS also funded and participated in the development of a voluntary web based Green Cleaning Training Program to help school districts and state agencies better utilize their resources for cleaning purchases and cleaning practices for sharing on the OGS ESU Web

 

Approved Green Cleaning Products Listings

https://greencleaning.ny.gov/Products.asp

Five product listings are maintained by OGS: general cleaning, floor finish, floor finish strippers, hand soap, and vacuum cleaners. General cleaning products include all purpose (general), restroom/toilet, glass, and carpet cleaners. Users can view the complete listing or search for specific products by type or manufacturer.


Cost Calculator  (Link to Excel file at above page) This converts the cost of concentrated cleaning products into the cost per gallon when diluted.  It is provided in an effort to help custodial managers calculate the real cost of cleaning products that require dilution, such as detergents, because comparing products simply based on cost per gallon when purchased may NOT be an accurate comparison.

 

Green Cleaning Guidelines Schools  (Go to following link and scroll down to ”Guidelines”): https://greencleaning.ny.gov/Policies.asp

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CLEANING FOR HEALTHY NEW ENGLAND SCHOOLS PROJECT

 Informed Green Solutions, Inc. CONTACT: Carol Westinghouse, Program Manager, Consultant, Toxic Chemicals & Human Health Research Area.  802-626-8643,, E-Mail: westies@ecoisp.com Web: www.informedgreensolutions.org   Providing services throughout the area including:  Cleaning products and practices evaluations - the first  step in transitioning to a "green" cleaning program.  School stakeholder trainings.  Detailed assistance - in choosing products and in implementing the program.  Developing educational materials for the school community on the subject. 

 

GREENING THE CLEANING® PROGRAM INSTITUTIONAL PRODUCTS   The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology, Hackensack University Medical Center, Research Bldg., 30 Prospect Avenue, Hackensack, NJ 07601. E-Mail: dienviro@humed.com

Tel. 201-336-8071, www.dienviro.com/index1.aspx?BD=17866,   

 School Info Pack, School References.  GTC strives to replace hazardous cleaning ingredients with naturally-derived, low toxicity ones, when available.  They have a tier system for products which may contain some synthetic ingredients for which effective natural substitutes have yet to be developed. Products meet or exceed requirements for Green Seal® & Environmental Choice programs.  See GTC  Standards: www.dienviro.com/index1.aspx?BD=17978 

100% of all profits from institutional products go to the Center for supporting education & research on environmental factors that may cause cancer, as well as other health problems.

 

VIRGINIA MOTT, SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTS CONSULTANT

 

 Lakeville, ME. Tel. 207-738-2180. vmott@almanacmtn.us. Ginny Mott was part of the American Lung Association of Maine team that developed an Environmental Management System (EMS) for schools, & can help schools to put an EMS in place.  She assists school maintenance directors to assess their current cleaning products & provides them with information on switching to green products. She can also present information to administrators, school boards, and staff about reasons for switching.  Many maintenance people cite teachers as a particular challenge when implementing a "green" cleaning program.  As a former teacher, Ginny is happy to work with teachers to develop their understanding of the cleaning program.

 

CONSULTING IS AVAILABLE THROUGHOUT THE NEW ENGLAND AREA.

 

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SURPRISE!  SHAKLEE HAS GREEN SEAL PRODUCTS FOR SCHOOLS!  HERE’S A LOCAL GREEN-FRIENDLY SHAKLEE DISTRIBUTOR

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SCHOOL PESTICIDE HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT CONCERNS

 

WHY NOT USE PESTICIDES AT SCHOOLS?

 

**PESTICIDES ARE POISON.  That’s why they are used – they kill things (bugs, bacteria, plants – and animals).

 

**HUMANS ARE NOT IMMUNE TO PESTICIDES.  Animal testing is done because the canary or rat will show results sooner, & human testing is dangerous, and unethical.  Nevertheless, many studies show that serious health effects are associated with exposure to toxic chemicals in commonly used pesticide products.

 

**LOW LEVELS = SLOW POISONING.  Large amounts of toxic chemicals cause acute, immediate reactions, even death.  Smaller, dilute exposures cause damage over time, including cancer.

 

** KIDS ARE THE GUINEA PIGS.  The pattern is simple.  Most testing is not done by government, (and companies have been successfully sued for lying about safety findings).  Products are approved for marketing, based on manufacturers’ claims.  Years later, some of them are removed from the market because they have proved dangerous to animals, the environment, or humans. 

 

**HEALTHY KIDS AT PLAY DELIGHT THE EYE & WARM THE HEART!  How much is it worth to have the peace of mind of knowing your favorite critters can romp and roll around at play without being exposed to dangerous toxins?

 

 

 

 

A  LOCAL INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT RESOURCE

BIOTECH PEST CONTROLS, Westerly, RI  401-315-2400, www.biotechpestcontrols.com Licensed by & providing pest control services in RI & CT.  A  Bora-Care Pretreatment Company.  Members of NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Assoc.)  Offers safer treatments & managed control to eliminate or reduce pest problems by the most economical means & with the least possible hazard to persons, property & the environment.  Gives the customer as much information about the problem & treatment method as possible.  Environmentally friendly products & prices to rival the big synthetic chemical users: www.biotechpestcontrols.com/html/products_we_use.html

 


 

CAN SCHOOL GROUNDS CARE BE EFFECTIVE &

AFFORDABLE WITHOUT PESTICIDE USE?

 

**PESTICIDES ARE A QUICK FIX THAT FADES.  They provide instant gratification, but long term, are not really good for your lawn.  Natural means may take a bit longer to “work”, but offer more long-lasting solutions. Cost goes on forever with pesticide-based gardening.  Organic land care becomes less expensive when it is established.

 

**ORGANIC HAS HAD CENTURIES OF TESTING.  People have been gardening and farming organically for thousands of years.  Today, they are doing it even better.

 

**SCHOOL FACILITIES DIRECTORS HAVE BEEN DOING IT!  Says Fred Koelbel, “I have attended trainings on organic turf management.  We do extensive soil sampling with an eye toward the availability of nutrients to the plant. Only in rare extreme circumstances such as imminent threat to students from an aggressive sting insect, do we use pesticides.  In my previous District we had great results.  To quote my Head Grounds person, “When you came out with this organic stuff, I thought here we go, but it really has made a difference. I am going to use this in my landscaping maintenance business.”

 

 

 WHAT ABOUT REPLACING PLAYING FIELD & PLAYGROUND SURFACES WITH ARTIFICIAL “TURF” & RUBBER MULCH?

 

 

 

RUBBER MULCH IS NOT SAFE FOR CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUNDS

 

(From an Op-Ed by Nancy Alderman of Environment & Human Health, Inc., EHHI,  203-248-6582,  www.ehhi.org ).

 

 “Rubber” mulch is made up of ground-up used tires that in some states are considered a "hazardous waste" & in other states a "special waste."  Whichever the case, used rubber tires are certainly not a material that children should play on. Rubber mulch gets extremely hot in warm weather, causing toxins in it to outgas, exposing the children who play on it.  Also, the high surface heat is very hard for children to tolerate.  Some chemicals in “rubber” tires are:

 

Benzene.  Carcinogen, Developmental & Reproductive Toxicant.  Phthalate. Suspected Developmental, Endocrine & Reproductive Toxicant.  PAHs.  Suspected  Cardiovascular, Blood, Gastrointestinal, Liver, Reproductive & Respiratory Toxicants, Carbon Black. Carcinogen, Manganese.   Gastrointestinal or liver toxicant.  Latex.  Causes allergic reactions in some people.  AND MORE…! 

 

RESOURCES FOR LESS TOXIC GROUNDS CARE
 
INFORMATION & TRAINING

 

NOFA ORGANIC LAND CARE PROGRAM, P.O. Box 164, Stevenson, CT 06491. Tel. 203-888-5146.  www.organiclandcare.net 
Contact: Ashley Kremser, NOFA OLC Program Manager.  E-Mail: akremser@ctnofa.org Offers courses in organic land care, accreditation to professionals, publishes directories, guides, books & brochures on organic land care. Many OLC Professionals give talks and lectures on the how-tos and benefits of organic land care

 

 

BEYOND PESTICIDES, 701 E Street SE #200, Washington DC 20003. Tel. 202-543-5450, E-Mail: info@beyondpesticides.org   Alternatives to Using Pesticides in Schools.  What is Integrated Pest Management? Fact Sheets and extensive information at their website: www.beyondpesticides.org/schools/schoolipm/index.htm

 

SERVICES & SUPPLIES

 

GO ORGANIC LLC, John Tycz, Thompson, CT, Tel. 860-935-5235,

E-Mail: info@GoOrganicLLc.com, Web: www.GoOrganicLLc.com

Organic land, lawn & shrub care.  Organic athletic fields.  John is a NOFA-OLC Accredited Land Care Professional & a member of the Ecological Landscaping Association.  He serves Rhode Island,  Connecticut & Massachusetts.


MERNER LANDSCAPING, Patrick Merner, 89 County Drive, Charlestown RI 02813.   Tel.- 401-741-3035, patmerner@gmail.com

www.mernerlandscaping.com Offers organic field management for local athletic fields. One long-time customer is Chariho Youth Soccer Association, whose playing fields were cared for organically from the early 1990’s by Patrick’s father, Mike, and since 1998 by Patrick.

  

OSBORNE ORGANICS, Chip Osborne, 11 Laurel Street, Marblehead, MA 01945 Tel. 781-631-2468, E-Mail: co@osborneorganics.com   Website:  www.osborneorganics.com

 

 

Osborne provides natural turf consulting service to business, municipal, institutional, & residential clients who wish to create & maintain natural, self-sustaining turf without synthetic fertilizers & chemical pesticides.  Consulting services: On-site evaluations and technical reports; Public presentations; product specifications and maintenance schedule development; New construction design consultation; Training programs:  Osborne now offers a two day Natural Turf Management Training Program

 

ORGANIC SALES & MARKETING (OSM, INC.), Natural Solutions for a Natural World, 114 Broadway, Raynham, MA, 1-888-473-6489.  Led by Garden Guys radio host, Sam Jeffries.  Provides natural fertilizers, green cleaners and more. (See ad on inside back cover)

 

PJC & COMPANY, ECOLOGICAL LAND CARE, 252 Dodge Road, Rowley, MA, 978-432-1019, info@pjcecological.com Sustainable practices in the school setting have expanded beyond “green” buildings & recycling programs, but two major areas are still being overlooked - campus lawns & athletic playing fields.  PJC consults, manufactures & provides All Natural Products & Programs developed, tested & proven on 1,000s of properties with outstanding results.  Sells direct to schools, municipalities, golf courses, landscapers, wholesale suppliers. Organic fertilizers & soil amendment products. www.pjcecological.com/schools.html (See ad, inside front cover)

 

SAFER YARD CARE, David Jones, 42 Canal Street, Westerly RI 02891 Tel. 401-315-2494   Website: www.Saferyardcare.com 

100% natural and organic.  Offers a safer-to-use Weed & Feed & Fertilize Service for lawn care & shrubs in RI & CT.  David Jones also owns Bio-Tech Pest Control, which provides environmentally friendly pest control.  (See SYC ad on inside front cover, BT listing, P. 17).


SIGN OF THE TIMES! 

 

 

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY CLEANING!

 

THIS FACILITY IS BEING MAINTAINED WITH “GREEN”, LESS-TOXIC CLEANING PRODUCTS FOR YOUR HEALTH AND THAT OF THE PLANET

 

DO THESE PRODUCTS KEEP THE FACILITY SANITARY? 

DON’T WE NEED STRONG, ANTIBACTERIAL  SOAPS & DEODORIZERS?

 

All products used have to meet strict standards of cleanliness, but researchers have found that special antibacterial products are unnecessary.  Moreover, such “overkill” is arousing increasing concern about antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria and stream pollution. 

 

WHAT ABOUT THE “CLEAN SMELL”?

 

Unfortunately, advertising has convinced us that the smell of synthetic fragrance chemicals is healthy & indicates a “clean” home or facility.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Commonly used commercial cleaners contain a variety of chemicals, many petroleum derivatives, that scientists have found to be associated with sometimes serious reactions & health conditions.  For example, ingredients in some products, especially fragranced ones, might trigger an asthma attack in a susceptible individual.

 

THE EPA WEBSITE LIST OF INDOOR AIR POLLUTANTS  INCLUDES “AIR FRESHENER”!  THE TRUE “SMELL OF CLEAN” IS:  NO SMELL AT ALL!

 

The EPA warns that:

 

·   Up to 30 percent of all buildings contain indoor air contamination

·   Indoor pollution costs more than $50 billion in the U.S. alone for healthcare, absenteeism, lost production, and lost revenue

·   Allergic reactions to "sick" indoor air environments account for more than10 million workdays missed by U.S. employees each year

·   Allergic reactions to "sick" indoor air environments keep 10,000 American children out of school each day

·   A U.C.L.A. study indicates that "adverse health effects have been identified regarding common chemical ingredients found in 222 cleaning products"

·   According to another study, conventional cleaning chemicals are neurotoxins which may impair a child's developmental and learning abilities.

 

SO, PLEASE THANK YOUR FACILITY MANAGER FOR “GOING GREEN”,

PROVIDING YOU WITH A HUMAN-FRIENDLY, HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT!

 

If you have questions or concerns, or want information on how to

 do healthy cleaning at home, contact: Liberty Goodwin, Director,

Toxics Information Project (TIP), 401-351-9193,  E-Mail: liberty@toxicsinfo.org Website:  www.toxicsinfo.org