The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has compiled a list of products that can help prevent the spread of avian influenza in the United States.

Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, is caused by influenza (flu) viruses found chiefly in birds. The viruses do not often affect humans, but there have been more than 100 confirmed human cases reported in Asia and Europe since 1997, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“There is a possible risk to people who have direct or close contact with infected birds or with surfaces that have been contaminated with secretions and excretions from infected birds,” according to the CDC.

The EPA list of products includes more than 90 disinfectants registered and intended for use against avian influenza A viruses on hard, non-porous surfaces. These products will be useful for contract cleaners who clean veterinary premises, poultry houses, farm premises and equipment, and other industrial and institutional settings. See the list.


Janitors at the University of Miami (UM) have voted to strike against Boston-based Unicco, the company that contracts with them to clean UM’s dorms, classrooms and grounds. Reasons for the strike include lack of healthcare and low wages. The vote does not mean an immediate picket line or that all Unicco employees would stop working; workers may strike in random spots and at different times to maximize surprise and prevent workers from missing wages, according to the Service Employees International Union.

The University plans to form a committee to review the wages of contract workers, including those employed by Unicco. Unicco plans to hire temporary workers or use management if necessary to fulfill its contract with the school, according to Unicco spokesperson Doug Bailey.

ISSA has identified five key elements of a well-managed cleaning organization to serve as the backbone of their Quality Management Standard (see NewsBriefs in February, p. 8). The five elements include management, quality systems, service delivery, human resources, and commitment to health, safety and the environment.

Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Winchester, Va., has announced that M&M Plastics Inc. of Miami has requested a settlement of Rubbermaid’s patent infringement lawsuit against M&M.
Under the terms of the settlement, M&M will cease selling the products which were at issue in the lawsuit, including commercial material transport systems, and has agreed to pay Rubbermaid an undisclosed royalty for previous sales of certain products.

BSC Pens Cleaning E-book

Sam Rodman, owner of Edison Office Cleaning in Cape Coral, Fla., has written the cleaning-industry e-book, “Instant Office Cleaning Kit, Cleaning Up the Profits.” All information and documents in the kit are available in a downloadable format.

The book covers everything entrepreneurs need to know about starting an office cleaning business, including landing the first account, pricing jobs accurately, hiring employees and an equipment list. See more cleaning industry authors.


Thanks, as always, for the continuing coverage of environmental issues in your publications. I’m writing about the January 2006 article “The State Of Green: A Supplier Discussion.” One of the statements in the article is:

“The most common certifications today are Green Seal’s GS-37, the Environmental Choice Program’s EcoLogo and The Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment. All organizations have their own criteria and standards, but the end result is the same: legitimacy.”

It’s a common misperception that the Design for the Environment (DfE) Program is a “certification,” when it’s actually a partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency and a product formulator. There are some key distinctions between environmental certification programs like Green Seal and Canada’s Environmental Choice Program (ECP) and the DfE Formulator Program:

  • The DfE Formulator Program does not include an environmental standard that outlines the performance, human health and environmental criteria that must be met for a product to receive certification. The DfE Formulator Program reviews product formulations on a case-by-case basis and the use of the DfE logo requires explanatory text such as, “This product formulated in partnership with EPA’s Design for the Environment Program” to explain the presence of the DfE logo and make it clear that the EPA is not “approving” or “certifying” the product.

  • The DfE Formulator Program does not explicitly address product performance as part of the formula review, which is still a key consideration for most purchasers of “green” products.

  • The DfE formula review does not include an audit of the manufacturing facility to verify production and quality control procedures.

  • Green Seal and ECP both have registered (and legally protected) certification marks that are licensed for use by manufacturers on specific products under specific conditions.

  • Green Seal and ECP conform to a number of recognized international and domestic guidelines for environmental standard-setting, certification and labeling. As a partnership program, the DfE Formulator Program does not make any claims of compliance with the guiding principles for organizations awarding third-party environmental certification.

Green Seal continues to support and work with the DfE Formulator Program, and we often refer clients to their service because they provide a valuable resource to companies that are experiencing formulation challenges with their “green” products. Like other EPA partnership programs, the DfE Formulator Program is intended to serve as a company-level partnership to encourage and assist formulators in designing products with more positive environmental and health profiles, and not as a program to award certification to specific products. “Formulated in partnership with…” is not equivalent to “certified by...”

Mark T. Petruzzi
Vice President of Certification
Green Seal, Washington D.C.