With Governor Matt Blunt’s signature on July 11, Missouri became the third state in the nation, after New York and Illinois, to establish guidelines and recommendations for green cleaning in schools.
Healthy Schools Campaign deputy director Mark Bishop explained that the Missouri legislation – along with similar laws passed in Illinois in 2007 and New York in 2006 – represents the beginning of a national movement toward protecting children’s health through green cleaning.
“We’re excited to see that state leaders are beginning to understand the connection between a healthy indoor environment and a quality education,” he said. “With Missouri becoming the third state to pass such health promoting legislation, we believe that green cleaning will become the standard in schools across the country within the next few years.”
Healthy Schools Campaign supported advocates in Missouri after bringing together the coalition that successfully advocated for similar legislation in Illinois in 2007.
Green cleaning, defined as cleaning to protect health without harming the environment, reduces children’s exposure to irritants and toxic chemicals while protecting the health of custodial staff who work closely with the supplies.
Green cleaning advocate Gary Walker, who worked closely with bill sponsor Sen. Kevin Engler in developing the legislation, said that his interest in putting forth the law was prompted by a desire to make green cleaning the norm in all the nation’s schools.
“After I witnessed New York and Illinois take action, it encouraged me to do the same in Missouri with the hope that it would spread to the rest of the country,” he said. “I wanted to create a green momentum that would encourage the rest of the nation to remove toxic chemicals from our schools.”