The Responsibility to Go Green

February 12, 2007

by Claris Olson, HSC Environmental Health Specialist

Kudos to Education World for the article “Improving School Environments Through Green Cleaning,” which gives a great synopsis of what is happening with green cleaning in schools across the nation and the connection to environmental health.

Too often when people talk about “green” they are thinking about protecting the streams, groundwater and the outdoor environment. They forget about indoor air quality and human health impacts. EPA has determined that indoor air can be five to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air, and it is widely known that conventional cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that contribute to poor indoor air quality.

The connection between indoor air quality and student health impairment is clear. Obviously when students are sick they can’t learn. The fact that conventional cleaning chemicals contribute to poor indoor air quality that can make children sick makes adopting a green cleaning program not just common sense but a moral and ethical responsibility.