Keeping Schools Clean—the Healthy Way
By Marygrace Taylor
When it comes to keeping your kid’s classroom clean, green may be best. According to the latest report by the Environmental Working Group, nontoxic cleaning products are safer and healthier for students and teachers, plus janitors who work to keep classrooms spic and span. The problem with conventional dirt-busters is they often contain harsh carcinogens, phthalates, and VOCs—all of which have been shown to disrupt the endocrine system and cause breathing problems in both kids and adults. So what makes green cleaners better?
They get their power from nontoxic, plant-based ingredients and “contain far fewer chemicals related to known health risks like asthma and cancer,” says report author Dr. Rebecca Sutton. Case in point: The EWG’s study found that certified green cleaners produce just one-sixth of the health-hazardous pollutants emitted by their traditional counterparts.
While it’s hard to argue the benefits of green cleaners from a health perspective, schools might be wary of increased costs. Fortunately, making the switch to green-certified cleaning products is cost-neutral for many schools (and in some cases, can actually save money!), says Sutton. Best of all, starting the conversation with teachers and administrators is easy. Parents can check out ewg.org for tips on how to talk to their kid’s school, plus a customizable letter and fact sheet that review the health and environmental benefits of green cleaners.