In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the cleaning industry is showing support for the victims of this natural disaster. After the hurricane passed through New Orleans, the raging waters of Lake Pontchartrain tore holes in the city’s levees and caused major flooding. Refugees are heading to nearby locations such as Shreveport, La., the Astrodome in Houston, and to a dozen other states. Building service contractors in these areas are doing all they can to help the unfortunate.

Red River Sanitors, Inc. in Shreveport is donating toilet tissue and hand soap, and is cleaning up vacant buildings to ready them for refugees.

“If a two-story bank has empty office space on the second floor, they’re letting people live there,” says Becky Willis, vice president and general manager.

Red River is even lending aid to friend and colleague Donald Kattengell of National Building Services and Maintenance Inc. of New Orleans. Kattengell and his family bought trailers and are coming to live in Red River’s parking lot.

“We’re just trying to help everyone we know,” says Willis.

Hurricane Katrina also ripped through parts of Mississippi and Alabama, and BSCs in these states are answering the call for aid as well. Peaches ‘n Clean Commercial Services in Montgomery, Ala., is developing a brochure to give to their customers and employees to ask for donations. The company also is serving as a collection point for donations for the United Way and will be holding a blood drive, says Ralph Ekonen, vice president, janitorial division.

Other cleaning industry leaders are also providing support. The ISSA Foundation is partnering with AmeriCares to offer monetary donations and also with Gifts In Kind, International to coordinate the delivery of supplies to non-profit organizations located in the affected areas.

New York Schools Go Green

New York Governor George Pataki signed legislation requiring the use of environmentally preferable cleaning products in schools statewide. The law will take effect on September 1, 2006.

The measure is the first statewide initiative requiring the use of green products. The legislation builds on an executive order the governor signed in January that required state agencies to use environmentally preferable products in an effort to improve indoor air quality in public buildings across the state.

Proposed Federal Pesticide Limits At Schools

U.S. Representative Rush Holt (D-N.J.) introduced the School Environmental Protection Act (H.R. 11) that would place federal restrictions on pesticides at schools. The legislation would require educational facilities to implement integrated pest management systems to minimize the use of pesticides in and near schools, and provide for notification of the use of such chemicals, according to the Lawrence (N.J.) Ledger.

Holt warns that exposure to pesticides can leave children more susceptible to learning and behavioral disorders, asthma and certain childhood cancers.

Rich Jarzabek, director of sales training for NSS Enterprises Inc., Toledo, Ohio, was awarded the designation of Certified Sanitary Supply Professional (CSSP) by the Building Service Contractors Association International.

Edmonds, Washington-based Advance Vapor Technologies announced its sponsorship of the Green Seal Green Cleaning Services Standard.

“Advanced Vapor Technologies, like other companies taking a leadership position in supporting green cleaning standards development, is helping to facilitate the benchmarking of cleaning methods that will result in safer, healthier, and more productive indoor environments,” says Arthur Weisman, Ph.D, president and CEO of Green Seal, in a news release.

Sloan Valve Co., a Franklin Park, Ill.-based manufacturer of water-conserving plumbing systems, introduced a new division. The SLOAN JANSAN division will supply the industrial and commercial markets with restroom products and systems that will ensure increased levels of hygiene and energy efficiencies, while improving overall restroom appearance.