New Guidelines For School Cleaning
Grassroots Environmental Education, a Port Washington, N.Y.-based nonprofit, published its revised "ChildSafe Guidelines" for cleaning products used in schools and day-care centers, along with a list of products that meet the new guidelines. The new guidelines contain the most stringent requirements of any published green cleaning standard.
Originally developed in 2006 based on standards published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Interior, the guidelines set threshold limits for certain chemicals commonly found in commercial cleaning products, some of which have been associated with an increased incidence of environmentally mediated illnesses, including asthma, allergies, certain types of cancer, learning and behavioral disorders, endocrine disruption, chemical sensitivity and kidney or liver damage.
"School is really the child's workplace," says Dr. Joel Forman, associate professor of Pediatrics and Community and Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York in a news release. "Children spend eight plus hours a day, five days a week in school, so the counterpart of adult occupation medicine is pediatric medicine focusing on exposures in schools."
Most schools and child care facilities are cleaned every day, leaving behind fresh residues of cleaning chemicals on surfaces with which children come into direct contact. Researchers have found that early exposures to environmental toxins appear more likely to produce chronic disease than similar exposures encountered later in life. This is of particular concern for pregnant women working in schools since the developing fetus is particularly at risk from maternal exposures to certain chemicals.
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