Green Cleaning: Time to Make Your Voice Heard

December 19, 2007

by Claris Olson, HSC Environmental Health Specialist

It’s time to share your comments on green cleaning in schools!

We now have two opportunities to participate in the public process to shape guidelines that will affect how schools are cleaned in Illinois and across the country.  What we are talking about are the revision to the Green Seal Standard for Industrial and Institutional Cleaners (GS-37) and the Illinois Guidelines for Green Cleaning in Schools. 

Both sets of guidelines were developed through a public process with broad stakeholder involvement, and are now available for public comment before they are finalized.  When final, the ideas outlined in these documents will shape the way we clean schools and reduce children’s chemical exposures.

The goal of revising the Green Seal standard is to bring it up to date to more adequately represent current technology available in the market, and to ensure that the standard fully protects vulnerable populations such as children.  It is extremely helpful to read the Background Information on the Proposed Revised Standard [pdf] from Green Seal to understand the rationale behind the proposed revisions. According to the background document:

Awareness of children’s additional health risks from chemicals and pollutants has grown in recent years . . . . Exposure to chemicals in the environment, including chemicals from cleaning products, can affect children differently and more severely than adults, for a number of reasons. As they grow and develop, children pass through critical windows of development, which are periods of susceptibility to chemical exposures. “For children, the stage in their development when exposure occurs may be just as important as the magnitude of exposure.” (WHO) In some critical developmental stages, even a single exposure event could lead to irreversible, life-long impacts.

To view the revised standard and share your comments, click here. The comment deadline is January 16, 2008.

The Illinois Guidelines for Green Cleaning in Schools draft is a result of recent legislation making Illinois the second state in the nation to make school environments safer and healthier through green cleaning.  The Illinois Green Government Coordinating Council (IGCC) led the development of the guidelines through a collaborative process with a diverse group of stakeholders, including representatives from HSC.

Now, the IGCC is seeking input on the proposed standards. You can share a general comment in support of green cleaning or can download the full draft and comment on specific aspects of it. The comment period is from December 8, 2007 to January 8, 2008. Comments can be submitted in writing on the IGCC website or in person at any of the three scheduled public meetings.

Interested in learning more about green cleaning in schools? Order your free copy of The Quick & Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools from HSC today!