Tools for Schools
Green Cleaning Information for Parents
Public Act No. 09-81 (partial text)
AN ACT CONCERNING GREEN CLEANING PRODUCTS IN SCHOOLS
On or before July 1, 2011, each local and regional board of education shall implement a green cleaning program for the cleaning and maintenance of school buildings and facilities in its district. No person shall use a cleaning product inside a school unless such cleaning product meets guidelines or environmental standards set by a national or international environmental certification program approved by the Department of Administrative Services, in consultation with the Commissioner of Environmental Protection. Such cleaning product shall, to the maximum extent possible, minimize the potential harmfull impact on human health and the environment.
Or or before October 1, 2010, each local and regional board of education shall provide the staff of each school and, upon request, the parents and guardians of each child enrolled in each school with a written statement of the school district's green cleaning program. Each local or regional board of education shall make such notice, as well as the report submitted to the Department of Education pursuant to subsection (a) of section 10-220 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, available on its web site of each school under such board's jurisdiction.
NO PARENT, GUARDIAN, TEACHER, OR STAFF MEMBER MAY BRING INTO THE SCHOOL FACILITY ANY CONSUMER PRODUCT WHICH IS INTENDED TO CLEAN, DEODORIZE, SANITIZE OR DISINFECT.
This requirement means that the custodial staff will use cleaners that are less toxic. These green cleaners have been certified by an independent third party to make sure that the health and environmental effects from their use are reduced.
This change will mean improved health for school occupants by reducing children's. teacher's, custodian's and other staff's exposure to toxic chemicals and asthma triggers that can be found in cleaning products. These include bleach, phenols, and ammonia often found in many over-the-counter general-purpose cleaners
One important part of the law bans teachers and staff from bringing in their own cleaners, including sanitizers and disinfectants, or deodorizers, and parents (and parent groups) from sending in such products with their child/children. These products often have harmful ingredients that can cause health problems, especially for people with asthma and other respiratory problems. The best way to prevent germs from spreading is to use soap and water or, if available, use the school approved hand sanitizer.
The facilities and custodial staff must be aware of all chemicals used in the schools. They have been trained to use the best cleaner for the situation/location. For example, they use disinfectants in the bathrooms, sanitizers in the kitchen, and general purpose cleaners in the classroom. The nurse's office has a separate procedure. If there is a particular illness outbreak, then sanitizers and disinfectants may be used in areas that might be contaminated. Only the trained custodial and nursing staff should be handling disinfectants.
For more information on green cleaning, visit the following web sites:
CT School Green Cleaning Products Law: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2009/ACT/Pa/pdf/2009PA-00081-R00HB-06496-PA.pdf
CT Department of Public Health: http://www.ct.gov/dph/ieq
DPH School Environment web site: www.ct.gov/schools