healthy clean buildings



Visit: defining: "GREEN" Cleaning


Makes a Difference !

Our Proven & Accredited, Eco-friendly,
2-Product "HEALTHY & SAFE"
Daily Cleaning Program

In today's world of tightened security, everyone co-exists in a sealed "bio-sphere" within any indoor work environment every day. Any factor, especially the fumes and residues of conventional cleaning chemicals, will ultimately affect the health and safety of individuals within a building, especially young children; individuals with disabilities; and the elderly. People lose their voices during a day without any reason; experience dizziness without cause; and leave work with migraine headaches each day...any number of symptoms associated with "Sick" Building Syndrome. Facilities & Operations Departments are waking up to these facts and are seeking chemical alternatives to address these growing concerns. Our "HEALTHY & SAFE" Daily Cleaning Program resolves many of these issues and defuses various "awkward" situations. Hundreds of companies, schools, and health care facilities are presently using our program throughout the world and are experiencing positive results .


The term SICK BUILDING SYNDROME (SBS) is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified. The complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone, or may be widespread throughout the building. In contrast, the term "building related illness" (BRI) is used when symptoms of diagnosable illness are identified and can be attributed directly to airborne building contaminants.

  • SBS SYMPTOMS : When 20% or more of occupants exhibit complain about Headaches, Nauseau, Dizziness, Sore Throats, Dry or Itchy Skin, Sinus Congestion, Nasal Irritation or Excessive Fatigue and these symptoms last more than 2 weeks...and particularly when these symptoms disappear when th sufferers leave the building.
    NOTE : "Syndrome" indicates several symptoms occurring together.

  • When these symptoms occur in a cluster of people and is NOT indicative of the
          allergic reaction of ONLY one person.
  • When there is NO causative agent isolated or identified
  • When complaints are often resolved by increased ventilation, or better building
          cleaning & maintenance; or just leaving the building.


    Over the past year, our web-site-- --has become a mecca for cleaning information on 'Environmentally "GREEN"  Alternatives' to conventional cleaning products due to OUR involvement and commitment to these concepts, especially regarding the health and safety of young children, individuals with disabilities, and the elderly. We refer you to our web-site as OUR ON-LINE CATALOG AND PRICE LIST.

    Here are the BENEFITS of our program :
    *   COST-SAVINGS ( Economy of Scale : LESS PRODUCTS USED )


    In the year 2000, one of our "HEALTHY & SAFE" Daily School Cleaning Program accounts received the prestigious, nationally-recognized E.P.A. Indoor Air Quality ' Tools for Schools' Excellence Award for its work to improve indoor air quality and protect the health of students and school staff. Only 10 of these awards are given throughout the country....and, in 2001, another one of our account was awarded the coveted "Malcolm Balbridge Excellence Award". A mere coincidence…perhaps ! But, although we acknowledge that our alternative cleaning program is a small cog in these achievements, adoption of a "GREEN"  cleaning program does reflect a progressive way of thinking towards the future.

    Our complete cleaning product programs represents the MOST sensible approaches towards delivering results and cost savings against ' toxic and hazardous' cleaning chemical concerns in an indoor school and work environment. Until recently, more environmentally-responsible, health-accountable, and cost-effective products to properly and professionally clean an entire school building JUST DID NOT EXIST!! Today, proven and accredited environmentally-accountable and health-oriented cleaning alternatives DO ...and our clients do sense that their indoor environments actually are healthier, safer, and cleaner within weeks of using our program.


    Another "HEALTHY & SAFE" Daily School Cleaning Program User
    Makes the News


    Environmental Issues - 1/12/2004 11:37:03 AM

    By Adam Doling, assistant news editor

    Schools around the country are taking a serious stance on the issue of school hygiene, and many are making efforts to implement aspects of "green cleaning" into their cleaning procedures...

    ...the Great Neck (NY) Record reported January 2 that the local board of education, acting under the recommendation of School District Safety Officer David Kincaid , has proposed a new policy on the exclusion of petrochemical-based products from school buildings.

    The policy states that it applies to art supplies, cleaning supplies, biology and chemical laboratory products, paints, and such, according to the newspaper...



    Schools Propose Chemical Policy

    By Wendy K. Kreitzman

    Acting on a recommendation from School District Safety Officer David Kincaid,  the Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education proposed a new policy on the exclusion of petrochemical-based products from school buildings.

    The policy states that the school district will "exclude, wherever possible, the use of any petrochemical-based product in any school facility. A petrochemical is defined as any product being manufactured and derived from crude oil."

    The policy goes on to state that it applies to art supplies, cleaning supplies, biology and chemical laboratory products, paints, and such. Whenever possible, the district will purchase bio-based alternatives and products containing minimal volatile organic compounds.

    Also, whenever possible, any product purchased and used in the district "must be third party documented and certified for its environmental efficacy and its impact on indoor air quality and overall indoor environment, especially as it may affect children." If no such documentation or certification exists for classification of a product, the district safety officer is to give approval, in writing.

    This policy was submitted for a first reading and, as per board policy, will come back for at least two more readings prior to adoption. A second reading is anticipated for the board of education's Jan. 12 meeting.





         In their May, 1999 issue, "GOOD HOUSEKEEPING" magazine featured an article entitled: "Sick Schools: Toxic buildings....Is your child safe?" This expose' served as a "wake-up" call to some school officials involved in the supervision of cleaning and maintenance of school buildings.

           As a result, several visionary New York ' Directors of School Facilities' have created and implemented a revolutionary "HEALTH AND SAFETY" cleaning program seeking "a better way" to maintain their buildings and benefit the welfare of the students within their districts. This NOW proven, field-tested program completely complies with the recent, jointly-published "HEALTHIER CLEANING & MAINTENANCE: PRACTICES AND PRODUCTS FOR SCHOOLS" GUIDE by the Healthy School Network and the New York State Association for Superintendents of Buildings and Grounds. This guide was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. ' This revolutionary "HEALTH AND SAFETY" cleaning program seeks "a better way" to maintain buildings and benefit the health and welfare of its occupants. Its chemical components consist of products which meet or exceed ALL standards and criteria set forth by 1993 federal guidelines established by the Public Building Service (PBS) of the General Service Administration (GSA) known as "Cleaning Products Pilot Project" ( and later updated by the U.S. Department of Interior's "GREEN" Cleaning Initiative)  to identify specific "environmentally-preferable" cleaning chemicals with higher environmental standards and with more stringent health and safety concerns.

          The cornerstone of our 3-product  "HEALTHY & SAFE" Daily Cleaning Program is -HydroxiPro-a ONE Product Concentrate which creates FOUR ( 4 ) Ready-to-Use Products and perform 22 various cleaning functions . ( MORE INFO ) HydroxiPro is listed by "GREEN SEALS" ( a non-profit independent environmental testing organization based in Washington D.C. ) as a "Recommended Commercial and Institutional Cleaner".

    According to an Independent Laboratory Test , HydroxiPro outperforms ( using the ASTM D 4488-95-A5 CLEANING STANDARD ) ALL Competitive H202 / Orange Oil Product Brands, even the Brand claiming to be "THE ORIGINAL ONE " .

         In fact, ALL Cleaning Chemical ELEMENTS of this Daily Cleaning Program-HydroxiPro ; "A-BEN-AQUI"( MORE INFO ) ; and our "BOTANICAL DISINFECTANT" ( MORE INFO ) are accredited by Industry-Acknowledged Third Party Environmental Certifier. Most end-users adopting this TOTAL "environmentally- preferable" cleaning program have removed minimally 8 "toxic or hazardous" substances from its cleaning operations or MORE; reduced 90 % of the different amounts of cleaning products used; created a NEW "Environmental Guardian" mindset for administrative, departmental, and custodial staffs towards their indoor work environments (versus the conventional janitor or custodian labels ); and improved cleaning standards through a simpler, easy-to-understand, more practical cleaning program. Participants in our "HEALTHY & SAFE" Cleaning Program involved in this program are reporting a minimum of 15% (or better) savings in their cleaning supply budget through the elimination of the multitude and duplication of products previously being used. Additionally, this program addresses controversial indoor environmental issues such as "Sick Building Syndrome"; "I.A.Q." (Indoor Air Quality); "Multiple Chemical Sensitivities" (MCS); allergic triggers; and other similar ' building occupant' concerns.The objectives of this program are simple to understand: A) improving indoor air quality; B) implementing less toxic integrated pest management practices and the re-writing of bid specifications for exterminating services to reflect this change; and C) replacing toxic and hazardous cleaning compounds with "environmentally-preferable" alternatives.

         For years now, the least toxic and non-hazardous cleaning products have been sought after to replace the potentially dangerous materials. The problem with the first generation of these substitutes is that they just didn't perform in cleaning tasks. Instead, custodial workers still used the conventional cleaning products which contained chemical ingredients found on the Federal OSHA Sub Part Z list. Although the worker took precautions to protect him/herself, the true victim was the individual who came into contact with the residue left behind and unknowingly suffered from the effects of these chemicals. This is especially true with CHILDREN AND INFANTS WHOSE UNDERDEVELOPED IMMUNE SYSTEMS AND LIGHTER BODY MASS make them more susceptible to chronic ailments such as asthma or epidermal rashes.

         Reactions to various allergic triggers, known as "allergens" in the indoor work environment or a school building is known as "Sick Building Syndrome". A list of these allergic triggers reads like an inventory of creation, including life's sustenance (certain foods); perils (insect bites or stings), and inescapable realities ( irritant dust, mold & mildew, and chemical residues ). Whatever form an allergen takes, an allergy-sufferer's body always makes the same strategic error: IT REACTS AS IF UNDER ATTACK BY DISEASE-CAUSING PATHOGENS. The warning signs or symptoms are quite familiar to anyone who has suffered from a cold or flu.

         Additionally, harsh reactions to chemical residues or vapors within the work place is known as ' Multiple Chemical Sensitivities ' (M.C.S.). Both conditions may begin to develop as exposure to such allergens in the indoor and outdoor environments develop and worsen. Each year, allergens account for more than 10 million Americans missing workdays and keep 10,000 children out of school each day!! What most people perceive as an actual disease caused by bacteria or virus making them sick IS, in reality, the reaction of their bodies interfacing with a "SICK" work environment.

         This "Cleaning for Health and Safety" prototype confirms that an entire school building can be cleaned healthier, safer, and better with only these 4 ELEMENTS ( 2=equipment; 2='environmentally' responsible chemicals) constituting this program. Equipment-wise, it recommends the use of  ELEMENT # 1 ) Backpack; and ELEMENT # 2 ) Commercial Upright Vacuum Cleaners BOTH  equipped with MICRO-ALLERGEN FILTRATION systems in order to keep hard and soft surfaces "healthy clean" on a regular basis. Both systems address the problems of irritant dust and dust mites caused by poorly operating air ventilating systems, new construction, decay of insect bodies, or improper dust collection or movement through dragging dust mops in hallways, using feather dusters or wiping rags. Indoor dust should not be confused with the dry powdery soil of outside dust. Indoor dust is a microscopic mix of highly allergic triggers such as dead skin cells, sneezed viruses, pet dander, soil, clothing fiber, carpet fragments, mold, bacteria, and insect parts. Allergic symptoms from this type of dust include chronic headaches, congestion, fatigue, sinus infection, sore throat, and asthma. More importantly, a microscopic insect-the DUST MITE-breeds and prospers in this type of dust. They live in dust, carpeting, donated chairs & sofas, and other "soft" surfaces...and NOT on human beings. As dust is unsettled, it and dust mite's bodily functions become air-borne. Fecal droppings from dust mites are highly allergenic, specially for younger children with respiratory problems. Each mite leaves behind about 20 fecal pellets each day. Most infestations involve thousands of dust mites. These "new" affordable type vacuums serve as air purification systems that actually removes 100% of dust mites and 99.8% of dust and air particulates out of the air for up to six (6) days.


         Conventional chemical cleaners may serve as allergic triggers to individuals prone to such reactions, especially after inadvertantly touching or ingesting these chemical residues. Allergic individuals contacting them may suffer from flu or hay fever symptoms such as running nose, scratchy throat, aching ears, runny eyes; headaches; dizziness; and loss of appetite. ELEMENT # 3 ) The cornerstone of the chemical side of this program is a revolutionary, effective "ENVIRONMENTALLY PREFERABLE" cleaning system which utilizes JUST ONE user/surface friendly chemical concentrate. This concentrate, "HydroxiPro" creates FOUR ( 4 ) Ready-to-Use products either manually or through an Automatic Dispensing System .

         ""HydroxiPro"" energizes the NATURAL POWERS of Orange Oil ( derived from  orange  peel ); STABILIZED HYDROGEN PEROXIDE (a safer oxidizing agent than chlorine bleach) NOTE: the chemical formulation of hydrogen peroxide is H2O2. As the product oxidizes, the excess oxygen is released and the only residue left is H2O (water); and 100% biodegradable surfactants into a multi-functional cleaning system! SIXTY-FIVE PERCENT (65%) of this product biodegrades into the environment within 28 days. This ONE concentrate at 4 different dilution ratios REPLACES over 22 common cleaning products including: ammonia, bleach, all-purpose cleaners, butyl cleaners, carpet bonnet cleaners, carpet extraction cleaners, carpet shampoos, carpet spotters and stain removers, deodorizing liquids, glass cleaners, heavy-duty degreasers, a mold & mildew oxidizer, neutral floor cleaners, odor eliminators, plexiglass cleaners, soap scum removers, spray & wipe cleaners, stainless steel cleaners, tile & grout cleaner,a complete washroom cleaner..and more.


         Even more important to your requirements is that when diluted with water, all of the 4 finished dilutions remains at a NEUTRAL PH 7 thereby NOT creating any possibility of surface damage. It cannot harm the applicator, damage surfaces, and LEAVES NO CHEMICAL RESIDUES at the proper dilution on surfaces. There are no irritating chemical fumes or odors...and its usage has no or negligible effect on air quality.    The SECOND element of this program ELEMENT # 4 ) is "A-BEN-AQUI" --  a non-toxic, non-flammable, and multi-purpose abrasive cream cleaner which replaces chlorinated scouring powders, such as "COMET"®, "AJAX"®, and "BABO"®, especially when applied with a green padded scrubbing sponge. These powder types release chlorine gas into the air when wetted which diminishes air quality, especially in confined areas. It consists of surfactants and microscopic grit resembling in texture the paste used by dentists to clean your teeth. The use of "A-BEN-AQUI" creates negligible, if any, V.O.C.s into the environment and has NO impact on air quality since it is odorless. As a multi-purpose paste product, it cleans and polishes in one operation in the same capacity as scouring powders. It excels in removing graffiti on hard surfaces; stubborn greases, dirts, and grimes; discoloration and oxidation on metals, porcelains, enamels, ceramic tiles,and marble surfaces. "A-BEN-AQUI" removes rubber burns and scuff marks from floors; indelible inks and magic markers from desk tops, toilet partitions,and school lockers; and removes scale from anodized aluminum, especially on outdoor window frames.



    The following "areas-for-improvement" were suggested by custodians who were using our 2-product "HEALTHY & SAFE" Daily Chemical Alternative Cleaning Program. It took years to identify these products that would COMPLETE our program and meet up to their higher standards.

    BIO-BASED DISINFECTANT ( E.P.A.Registration # : 72977-3-84364 ) made from Citric Acid & "FREE" Silver Ions ( MORE INFO )
    for Body Fluid Spills/Bloodborne Pathogens :

    Bacteria :  Escherichia coli - ( 2 minutes ) ; Listeria monocytogenes - ( 30 seconds ) ; Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus ( MRSA ) - ( 2 minutes )  ; Pseudomonas aeruginosa - ( 30 seconds ) ; Salmonella choleraesuis - ( 30 seconds ) ; Staphylococcus aureus ( "Staph")- ( 30 seconds )  ; Vancomycin resistant Enterococcus faecium ( VRE )  - ( 30 Seconds )
    Fungus :  Trichophyton mentagrophytes - ( Athlete's Foot Fungus )- ( 10 minutes )
    Viruses :  Herpes Simplex Type 1, F(1)Strain - ( 1 minute ); HIV Type 1 Strain ( 30 seconds ) ; Influenza A, Hong Kong strain - ( 10 minutes ) ; Polio Type 2 ( Lansing Strain ) - ( 10 minutes ) ; Rhinovirus R37 , Strain 151-1 ( 10 minutes )

    BOTANICAL DISINFECTANT ( EPA Registration # 7477-1 ) made from Thyme Oil, Lemongrass Oil, and Oregano Oil ( MORE INFO ) for Body Fluid Spills/Bloodborne Pathogens :

    Bacteria :Mycobacterium tuberculosis ( TB ) - ( 10 minutes )   Pseudomonas aeruginosa - ( 10 minutes ) ; Salmonella choleraesuis - ( 10 minutes ) ; Staphylococcus aureus ( "Staph")- 10 minutes
    Fungus :  Trichophyton mentagrophytes - ( Athlete's Foot Fungus )- ( 10 minutes )
    Viruses :  HIV-1

    BIO-BASED SANITIZER ( EPA Registration E.P.A.# 71094-2 ) made from Citric Acid. ( MORE INFO )

    "PROSAN" :  KILLS 99.999% of both gram positive and gram negative bacteria in 30 seconds . "PR0SAN" also kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria ; aeromonas hydrophila ; escherichia coli 0157:H7; Listeria monocytogenes; Pseudodomonas aeruginosa; Salmonella typhimurium, Shigella sonnei; Vibrio cholerae; and Yersinia enterocolitica . Can be used directly on food preparation equipment ( ie : cutting boards, blades on food slicers ) -or- as a DIRECT, FOOD CONTACT Sanitizing Agent .



    Cleaning for Health

    is recommended for each custodial worker
    on each shift.

    Includes one (1) gallon of HydroxiPro# 128 Manual Concentrate + all essential accessories including one (1) bottle set (4 color- coded bottles)+ one (1)Mixing Bottle + One gallon Silk Screened Pump Sprayer + one(1) bottle carrying caddy + all pertinent safety and product information. This one gallon of one (1) gallon of HydroxiPro# 128 Manual Concentrate should make enough ready-to-use product for about 1-2 weeks commercially (for schools, institutions, hospitals).

    $120.00/per COMMERCIAL STARTER KIT/...-PLUS-
    one  (1) FREE tub (16 oz.) of "A-BEN-AQUI"
    included in each Commercial Starter's Kit.(-plus-shipping/handling)


    ONE-Five (5) gallon REFILL Pail of HydroxiPro# 128 Manual Concentrate "
    Each 5 gallon pail should provide a 3-5 week supply of Ready-to-Use products.
    YOUR WEBSITE COST: $99.90 per REFILL pail... 


    ONE case-"A-BEN-AQUI" : 12/1 lb. tubs/case
    YOUR WEBSITE COST: $ 89.90 per case.


    with our
    Proven & Accredited

    GO TO: "HEALTHY & SAFE Home Cleaning Kit" 


    performing over 32 Cleaning Functions !

    for ONLY $ 69.95/ per Kit
    ( + $ 12.00 ship/hdlg )

    STATS & FACTS That You Should Know
  • The Average Homeowner uses about 25 Gallons of "TOXIC" products per year.
  • A U.C.L.A. study indicates that "adverse" health effects have been identified
          regarding common chemical ingredients found in 222 cleaning products.
  • According to a latest medical report , conventional cleaning chemicals are "neurotoxins"
         which may impair an individual's ability to concentrate , and learn.
  • Cleaning products, regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission,
          can be among the most hazardous chemicals in your home or office .

    GO TO : "HEALTHY HOME" Cleaning Kit



    Environmental Issues - 7/18/2003 10:44:44 A.M.

    Hits MA Legislature

    BROOKLINE, MA — At a State House press conference Tuesday, Rep. Frank Smizik introduced the Healthy Cleaning Products Act, the purpose of which is to reduce asthma and other health threats from cleaning products emissions in schools, hospitals and other public buildings, the Brookline Tab reported.

    SENATE BILL, NO. 694

    By Ms. Wilkerson, a petition ( accompanied by Bill, Senate, No.694 )
    of Dianne Wilkerson, Bruce E. Tarr and the IUE-CWA,
    by Jeff Crosby, president, for legislation to reduce health threats
    from chemical cleaning products. Health Care In the Year Two Thousand and Three...

    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

    SENATE BILL, NO. 694


    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

    SECTION 1. Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended following section 5R by inserting the following section:
    Section 5S.

    (a) Title. This section shall be referred to as "The Healthy Cleaning Products Act"

    (b) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to reduce asthma and other health threats from emissions of toxic chemicals from cleaning products used in schools, hospitals and other health care facilities, day care centers, public buildings, and public housing.

    (c) Definitions. For the purposes of this section the following words shall have the following meanings:

    "Cleaning product", a product intended for use for routine cleaning of schools, hospitals and other health care facilities, day care centers, and public housing, including general purpose cleaners, bathroom cleaners, glass cleaners, carpet cleaners, disinfectants, floor care products, and hand soaps.

    "Commissioner", the commissioner of the department of public health.

    "Day Care Center", any public or private facility operated on a regular basis whether known as a day nursery, nursery school, kindergarten, child play school, progressive school, child development center or preschool, or known under any other name, which receives children not of common parentage who are not more than six years of age, or who are not more than 21 years of age if such children have special needs, for nonresidential custody and care during part or all of the day separate from their parents. Day care center shall not include: any part of a public school system; any part of a private, organized educational system, unless the services of such system are primarily limited to kindergarten, nursery or related preschool services; periodic religious instruction classes conducted by a religious institution; a facility operated by a religious organization where children are cared for during short periods of time while persons responsible for such children are attending religious services; a family day care home; an informal cooperative arrangement among neighbors or relatives; or the occasional care of children with or without compensation.

    "Environmentally preferable purchasing criteria," means products which are not toxic to humans, and that do not contain any ingredients which are carcinogens or which are known to cause reproductive toxicity, is not corrosive to the skin or eyes, is not a sensitizer, is not combustible, does not contribute to the production of photochemical smog, tropospheric ozone, or poor indoor air quality, is not toxic to aquatic life, does not contain more than 0.5% by weight of total phosphorus, and which does exhibit biodegradability.

    "Health Care Facility", a health care facility as defined in section nine C of chapter one hundred and twelve.

    "Healthy Cleaning Product", a cleaning product which is listed on the Healthy Cleaning Product List established by the Department pursuant to this section.

    "Hospital", any hospital licensed under section fifty-one of chapter one hundred and eleven, the teaching hospital of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and any psychiatric facility licensed under section nineteen of chapter nineteen.

    "Public building" means any building owned, occupied, or used by any public entity including but not limited to the commonwealth and any county, city, town, or school district.

    "Public housing",any federal, state or municipally subsidized housing or housing project.

    "School", any educational institution including but not limited to any public or private elementary, middle, high school, junior college, college, university, school of medicine, or law school.

    (d) Product Restrictions. No cleaning product may be used in any school, hospital, health care facility, day care center, publicbuilding, or public housing in Massachusetts unless said cleaning product is contained on the list of healthy cleaning products established by the commissioner pursuant to this section.

    (e) Healthy Cleaning Products List. No later than January 1 each year the commissioner shall prepare and release to the publicthe healthy cleaning products list. Said list shall include only those cleaning products that: (1) are determined to be an environmentally preferable product by the Massachusetts Operational Services Division pursuant to the environmentally preferable purchasing criteria; and (2) do not contain ingredients that the commissioner has determined as asthma-causing agents (asthmagens); (3) provided however that the commissioner shall establish, in consultation with representatives of hospital administration and staff, a separate list of the safest alternative disinfectants which are applicable only for use in areas of hospitals which require the application of special disinfectants for medical reasons. The commissioner shall annually review the healthy cleaning products list and make changes as necessary to ensure that the safest cleaning products are on the list.

    (f) Training and Field Testing.
    (1) The commissioner shall establish a program to require the training of all cleaning personnel in the use and disposal of the products on the healthy cleaning products list in the field, at day care centers, schools, hospitals, health care facilities, public buildings, and public housing with the cooperation of the cleaning personnel who actually use and dispose the products in the course of their employment.
    (2) For purposes of developing the training program and confirming the safety and effectiveness of products utilized under this program, the Commissioner shall also convene teams of janitorial staff for schools, day care, hospitals, public housing, and all other state buildings, supported by technical experts, property management, representatives of relevant trade unions and other building occupants. Such teams will field test healthy cleaning products and proposed training guidelines and assist the Commissioner in confirming the safety and effectiveness of cleaning products authorized under paragraph (e). Based on the results of these teams, the Commissioner will develop training guidelines for each of the four settings and develop a plan for implementation that ensures training for all janitorial staff.

    (g) Grant Program. The commissioner shall establish a grant program to train cleaning personnel in the use of healthy cleaning products and to compensate the participating cleaning personnel for their participation in the testing program.

    (h) Notification Requirement. Manufacturers of cleaning products distributed, sold or offered for sale in the commonwealth shall furnish to the commissioner for public record such information regarding such products as the commissioner may require, in such form as prescribed by the commissioner. For each cleaning product, such information shall include but shall not be limited to:
    (1) a list naming each ingredient which equals or exceeds five percent of the contents of the product by weight which includes specifying the content by weight of each ingredient to the nearest percent;
    (2) a list naming each ingredient which does not equal or exceed five percent of the contents of the product by weight; provided, however, that ingredients which are present in trace quantities need not be included on such list unless the commissioner specifically requires the listing of one or more of such ingredients by weight to the nearest percent; and
    (3) the nature and extent of investigations and research performed by or for the manufacturer concerning the effects on human health and the environment of such product or such ingredients. Ingredients shall be listed using the generic chemical name that conforms with generally accepted rules of chemical nomenclature. Such manufacturers shall furnish such information at such times as may be required by the commissioner. Such information shall be available to the public at the offices of the commissioner with the exception of portions which the manufacturer determines, subject to the approval of the commissioner, would be, if disclosed, seriously prejudicial to the manufacturer's legitimate interest in trade secrets and economics of operation.

    (i) Accommodation of "Chemically Sensitive Individuals". An individual who attends or works in a building regulated by this section who experiences adverse health effects from allergic or hypersensitivity reaction from exposure to the cleaning products in use pursuant to this section may request, and the facility may utilize, other suitable materials as determined by the individual and provided by the facility. The request shall be placed in writing and a copy shall be sent to the Commissioner.

    (j) Reasonable Fee. The commissioner shall require manufacturers of cleaning products to pay a reasonable fee to cover the costs for the department to collect and review the requested information, to develop and maintain the healthy cleaning products list, and to conduct the field testing program.

    (k) Penalties. Any facility manager or owner who uses a cleaning product in violation of this act shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars. Any person who sells, or distributes a cleaning product in violation of this act shall be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars and not more than twenty-five thousand dollars for each twenty-four hour period during which such violation occurs. The department of public health may seize any cleaning product held for sale or distribution in violation of this section. The seized cleansing agents shall be forfeited.

    SECTION 2. Section 1 shall take effect one year from the date of enactment.



    (From an Internet Parent ...)

         My oldest, 7 years old son, takes medication to control his Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Depression. Recently, I have also learned about the effects of cleaning chemicals (not the harsh stuff you would normally think of, but everyday things!!) on my son. These sources explained HOW a "normal" child exposed (just a open cleaning product container in the same room)  can cause "false" symptoms or exaggerated symptoms of Dyslexia (where they write and read backwards). When these same chemicals are taken out of the picture, then, the child is able to function "normally" again !!!!! Unfortunately, our children are bombarded by this stuff on a daily basis!!!   In the schools, they clean with VERY harsh chemicals; in your homes, laundry soap stays in the fabric; cleaning chemicals under the sink give off fumes in the air (remember the smell of the cleaning aisle in the store!!). There are chemicals on and in our food and the list goes on and on !!!! As a result of this revelation, I wanted to get "as much 'chemicals' as possible" out of my son's environment. BIG difference !!!!  After we cleared out the existing chemicals and started to clean and launder in 'environmentally safe and preferable' cleaning products, his rash on his face cleared, all of our sinus infections cleared up, my husband now comments on the smell of homemade bread, and best of all my son has calmed down a great deal !!!   If you can, get as many if not all of the chemicals out of your children's (and yours, for that matter) environment, you will feel healthier and happier for it !!! I know we are !!! After your system has had a chance to get used to being "less chemically dependent", I recommend that you pay close attention to how your children (especially, the ones who are normally very active) behave when they get anywhere near a cleaning aisle in a store !!! My son was uncontrollable after just passing by the cleaning aisle(better known as the "sneeze" aisle) at Wal-Mart one day !!
    No joke !!"
    Best wishes and keep healthy !!!!
    Catrina Larsen

    Making Your Home Environment More Healthy!

    FOR MORE INFORMATION, GO TO : Safety Council--Non-profit public service organization focusing on occupational health and safety, traffic safety, first-aid and home safety, and environmental health Health Center's Environmental Health Program Kids today face a number of potential dangers in the world around them - such as lead poisoning, pesticides, overexposure to the sun, and poor air quality. The National Safety Council’s Environmental Health Center (EHC) conducts a variety of outreach and educational activities on children's environmental health issues.'s Environmental Health Links links to research finding health disorders resulting from exposure to common chemicals and pesticides. Illnesses now identified include child cancers, neurological disorders, immune system weakening, asthma, allergies, infertility, miscarriage, and child behavior disorders including learning disabilities, mental retardation, hyperactivity and ADD (attention deficit disorders)

    The following are three specific pollutants that we can prevent and eliminate through alternatives and safer solutions.

    Biological contaminants are or were living organisms and include bacteria, mold, mildew, animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches, and pollen. Two conditions are required to support biological contaminants — nutrients and moisture.

    Pesticides are chemicals used in and around the home to control insects, termites, rodents, fungi, and microbes. They are sold as sprays, powders, crystals, balls, and foggers. Pesticides are produced to be toxic to specific organisms and, consequently, have risks as well as benefits.

    Household chemicals are common ingredients in many products, including personal care products, such as hair sprays and spray deodorants; paints; hobby and home improvement supplies; aerosol sprays, such as cleaners and disinfectants; and automotive products.

    It is common for people to reach for pesticides to control biological contaminants, such as cockroaches and other insects, in and around the home. People use cleaning supplies to control dust mites, mold, mildew, and bacteria. The cleaning supplies are often household chemicals. Many of us are caught in a pollution cycle — using one pollutant to control another. Using chemicals and pesticides are often quick and convenient solutions.

    However, you can reduce indoor air pollution by trying the following alternative and safer solution suggestions.

    Alternatives and Safer Solutions

    For This:

    Try This:



    Red chili powder at their entrance point


    Chrome polish

    Apple cider vinegar


    Dish Detergent

    1/2 cup baking soda + liquid detergent



    Well-watered bowl of basil



    Gradually add brewer's yeast to pet’s diet
    (consult your veterinarian first)


    Ink Spot Remover

    Cold water + 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
    + 1 tablespoon lemon juice


    Moth Repellent

    Cedar chips enclosed in cotton sachets


    Pet odor removal

    Cedar vinegar


    Roach repellent

    Chopped bay leaves and cucumber skins


    Rug/Carpet Cleaner

    Baking soda


    Window Cleaner

    2 tablespoons vinegar in 1 qt. warm water


    Air Freshener

    Use herbal bouquets, pure vanilla on a
    cotton ball, or simmer cinnamon and cloves


    Mold and Mildew



    Drain Cleaner

    1/2 cup baking soda + 1/2 cup vinegar,
    wait a few minutes, then 2 quarts boiling
    water, repeat process


    Stain Remover

    Club soda, lemon juice, or salt


    Rusty Bolt/Nut Removal

    Carbonated beverage


    This above table is based on A Consumers Guide to Safer Alternatives to Hazardous Household Products and Take Me Shopping by Alicia Flynn and Rory Kessler and produced by the Santa Clara County Hazardous Waste Management Program, Santa Clara Valley Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program and the California Integrated Waste Management Board.

    "GO   GREEN   AND   CLEAN" !!

    GO GREEN!!

         The Director of Facilities of 17 New York State school districts deserve the kudos for pioneering this NEW era in school facility management. They are the designers and true innovators of these enlightening concepts and have taken bold steps to make change for the better. All of them have acknowledged that healthier and safer alternatives versus their antiquated cleaning systems needed to be explored , especially with children's well-being at risk.

          These 17 School Districts in the New York Metropolitan area have either fully committed themselves; are finishing up or beginning their "testing" phase of this cleaning program. Another half-dozen districts are in their embryonic stage just considering a test. Presently, approximately 30 public districts and private schools have implemented our "HEALTHY & SAFE" Daily Cleaning program with other interested parties inquiring about it every day.


    Consider These Benefits :

    • Northern Tioga School District, PA, saved $19,883.25 annually in supply costs by eliminating many aerosols and products such as harsh bowl cleaners.
    • Syracuse, NY Schools improved attendance by 11.17 percent (district average) and gained $2,513,250 in additional annual state funding the first year after implementing a cleaning for health & safety program. The program includes regular disinfecting of desks and surfaces and the use of multi-stage filtration backpack vacuums.
    • Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO, saved more than $7,000 annually in projected HEPA filter-replacement costs by switching to a high filtration media disc in their backpack vacuums. The filter media yields an efficiency of 99.79 percent at .3 microns at a fraction (1/25th) of the cost of proposed HEPA filters.CSU also switched to vacuuming hard or resilient floors, eliminating dust mopping. Since starting the program, indoor air quality has improved dramatically while respiratory complaints, and related labor and materials costs have dropped.
    • The Fond du Lac School District, Fond du Lac, WI improved dust capture, IAQ, and overall productivity by switching to an anti-static disposable sleeve that fits over existing duster heads. The fringed sleeve needs no VOC-laden treatments,and facilitates cleaning around student projects, cluttered desks and worktables.
    • One of OUR clients here on Long Island, the Baldwin U.F.S.D., New York is one of 10 School Districts throughout the country to receive the prestigious E.P.A.'s INDOOR AIR QUALITY 'TOOLS FOR SCHOOLS' EXCELLENCE AWARD for its efforts to improve indoor air quality; and protect the health and welfare of its students and school staff.
    • Another of OUR clients, the Pearl River U.F.S.D., New York received the coveted "MALCOLM BALBRIDGE Excellence Award"for over-all educational achievement and cost-effectiveness.

    The City of Santa Monica, California
    Santa Monica’s green cleaning product purchases have eliminated the purchase of 3,200 pounds of hazardous materials annually. This translates into a saving of approximately five percent of annual spending on cleaning products when compared with the traditional products it was purchasing.

    Perrigo, a mid-sized company and the leading manufacturer of generic and "store brand" pharmaceuticals and personal care products, is saving more than $35,000 annually after it switched to "GREEN"  cleaning products. While part of the reported savings can be attributed to the fact that some "GREEN"  cleaning products being less expensive than the traditional ones, most of the reported and anticipated savings appear to result from new bulk purchasing opportunities, fewer workers compensation claims, and rising employee productivity.

    The National Park Service
    The National Park Service (NPS), used to buy more than 130 different cleaning products but has switched to a family of products it considers environmentally preferable. It now buys only 15 products. Purchasing a smaller number of products allows NPS to buy them in greater volumes and at a bigger discount than purchasing small quantities of a large number of different products.

    Department of Interior Headquarters
    The Department of the Interior (DOI) initiated a contract for custodial services using environmentally-preferable cleaning products and supplies. DOI identified environmental attributes for the products that had to be met or exceeded in order to be considered.

    City of Richmond, California
    Janitorial contractors in Richmond, California, are expecting the switch to green cleaning products to reduce worker compensation claims. According to a study conducted by a consultant to the city, a cleaning chemical accident requiring medical treatment costs an average of $615 per incident, excluding long-term disability costs. The study also reveals that 1 out of every 100 janitors have reported work-related injuries attributable to the cleaning products they use. The project team believes the actual number of incidents, however, is 6 injuries per 100 janitors, because many people are reluctant to report injuries fearing disciplinary measures. By switching to less toxic cleaning products, contractors in Richmond expect to reduce the number of incidents, their severity, and the cost per incident. The contractors anticipate that worker compensation insurance costs might decrease because the insurance premiums are based on the number and severity of claims. In addition, if the contractors make all the potential changes available to them, their use of hazardous materials will drop by 3,000 pounds per year. Finally, several purchasers have noted that the lower VOC content and reduced toxicity of green cleaning products help improve overall indoor air quality. This affects all employees, not just the janitorial staff, and could boost employee productivity, cut absenteeism, and promote the general well being of building occupants.

    AND MORE...

    Other "GREEN"  cleaning product purchasers such as Ben & Jerry’s; King County, Washington; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and the states of Minnesota and Vermont also have reduced environmental impacts by purchasing cleaning products each has determined to be environmentally-preferable. As these "GREEN"  pioneers have continued to demonstrate, purchasing cleaning products with reduced environmental impacts has significant advantages, from improving environmental performance to saving money, green cleaning products can outshine the competition.



    Greening Your Purchase of Cleaning Products Concerns

    Why "GREEN" Your Cleaning Products?

    For More Information, go to :

    Cleaning products present several human health and environmental concerns. They can contain chemicals associated with eye, skin, or respiratory irritation, and other human health issues. They also can include materials with potentially harmful environmental consequences such as toxicity to aquatic plants and animals and nutrient loading (e.g. phosphates) that can lead to eutrophication, suffocating native aquatic life. Additionally, the concentrated forms of many cleaning products are classified as hazardous waste, creating potential handling, storage, and disposal issues for users. Reducing these human health and environmental effects is an important incentive for implementing an EPP cleaning products program.


    -Millions of tons of cleaning products are washed down drains every month. These products often contain toxic chemicals that can find their way into drinking water supplies or streams and lakes.

    -General-purpose cleaning products have been shown to contribute approximately eight percent of total nonvehicular volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, which contribute to smog formation, retard plant growth, and can cause respiratory distress in some people.

    -Most people spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, thus exposure to indoor environmental hazards has lead to many health concerns.

    go to :


    -Cleaning products are the chemicals most frequently involved in poisonings reported to Poison Control nationally.

    -The cleaning industry employs two to three million janitors; but due to very high turnover, even greater numbers of people are affected .

    Each year about six out of every hundred professional janitors are injured by the chemicals that they use. Burns to the eyes and skin are the most common injuries, followed closely by breathing toxic fumes.

    One third of the cleaning chemicals used today have ingredients that can harm you. These ingredients are in products for cleaning glass, restroom fixtures, metal, kitchens, carpets, and hard floors, to name only a few.


    Read The Label - Avoid products that have the words "Danger", "Poison", or "Warning". When you must use a strong product to get the job done, protect yourself by wearing gloves & goggles, and be sure that your work area has plenty of fresh air.

    Call Customer Service - Most labels have an "800" number to call with questions. Ask the customer service people to tell you if the product you are using has hazardous ingredients that may harm you. If there is no phone number on the container, ask the store or supplier where you bought the product.

    Read The Safety Data Sheet - The customer service staff can send you a Material Safety Data Sheet, or "MSDS", for the product. This sheet explains what is in the cleaner, how these ingredients might harm you, and how to protect yourself while using it. Many companies also have MSDSs on their web site.

    on the Internet !

    A Material Safety Data Sheet is designed to inform about the "toxic" and "hazardous" ingredients of a chemical product and provide an individual with the proper procedures for handling or working with that substance. Below are websites which will enable you to find invaluable and insightful information about brand name chemical products that you use everyday to protect your health and well-being :

    Guide to Understanding Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) ( household products ) ( household products )


    Cleaning Chemicals: Are they affecting your health?

    By Michael McCagg, Managing Editor
    ‘CM Cleaning Management’ Industry Trade Magazine
    JULY 2001 ISSUE

    How good is your cleaning chemical? Does it remove counter-top germs? What about the bacteria on your throat lining or the skin on your hand? Cleaners strong enough to remove bacteria and those of lesser strength can kill the bacteria in your throat and cause other physical damage if you don’t take precautions when handling and applying them. Even industry veterans are susceptible to illness from not taking precautions. One such consultant, William Griffin, President of of Cleaning Consultant Services Inc, Seattle, Washington says despite his knowledge of the industry and the threats chemicals pose, it took him three bouts with illness to realize that one chemical he was using made him susceptible to germs because it killed the good bacteria in his throat. Training, knowledge of MSDS sheets and personal protective gear are all necessities to avoid short- or long-term problems from handling cleaning chemicals.

    Individuals should also never mix chemicals. There are a few individuals out there who want to be amateur chemists and mix their own cleaning brew, and that can be dangerous. Besides the obvious health threat outweighs the chances that the resulting concoction will work.

    In handling and using cleaning chemicals, EVERYONE must understand that the skin serves as the doorway to the body. One such chemical which appears in many degreasers, carpet spotters and general purpose cleaners, as well as glass cleaners, and which is dangerously absorbed into the skin unless gloves are worn is butoxyethanol . Unfortunately, it is a very good solvent but it poisons the kidneys, liver and causes pregnancy problems .

    There are several "HIGH RISK" products individuals need to know.
    Among them are:
    · Acid Toilet Bowl Cleaners with hydrochloric acid;
    · Metal cleaners with perchloroethylene;
    · Carpet Spotter with perchloroethylene;
    · General purpose cleaner with butoxyethanol, sodium hydroxide and ethanolamine;
    · Floor finish stripper and baseboard stripper with butoxyethanol,
      sodium hydroxide and ethanolamine;
    · Glass cleaner with butoxyethanol;
    · Sanitizing or Disinfecting Agents, especially those containing Bleach.
      Mixing Bleach with other chemicals may create chlorine gas that can kill you !!

    These hazardous chemicals ­ some of which are thought to cause cancer, others of which are poisonous or cause burns ­ can be eliminated from today's custodial closets.

    Besides the immediate injuries chemicals can cause, such as burns or blindness, some also cause long-term affects, including cancer and brain damage over an extended, prolonged period of time. The bottom line, say the experts, is INDIVIDUALS must be aware of the risks associated with the chemicals they use and take the proper precautions ­ whether the chemical is a general purpose cleaner or a heavy-duty acid. Long-term exposures to any chemical are not good. Even extreme exposure to water over a long period of time is not good, it takes the oils out of the skin. The bottom line is that you MUST be cautious and protect yourself.

    What Cleaners Have The Most Risk?

    Product Type Hazardous Ingredients How These Can Harm You
    Glass Cleaner
    General Purpose Cleaner
    Carpet Spot Remover
    A solvent called "Butoxyethanol" Butoxyethanol absorbs through your skin and poisons your blood, liver, & kidneys. Wear gloves when you use cleaners with this ingredient.
    Toilet Cleaner Hydrochloric Acid
    Phosphoric Acid
    These acids are very good for removing hard water rings, but they can also blind you in seconds. Wear your gloves and goggles, or better yet change to a milder product (one with Citric Acid - strong lemon juice).

    Oven Cleaner
    Heavy Duty Degrease

    Sodium Hydroxide Oven cleaner in a spray can - very convenient, but also very dangerous. Sodium hydroxide can blind you, and the vapors can harm your lungs. Use it with care - wear gloves & goggles, and provide lots of fresh air.


    U.S. Flag Environmental Protection Agency

    SANTA CLARA, CA--3/22/01-­ A joint project between the EPA, California and local officials has found 41 percent of standard cleaning chemicals are "DANGEROUS" and some are "TOO DANGEROUS TO USE".

    The Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Project found that 6 percent of cleaning products it analyzed were "so dangerous, that they should not be used" and an "additional 35 percent were dangerous, "but can be used successfully with extreme care."

    The Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Project is a joint venture of the U.S. Environmental protection Agency; the California EPA; Santa Clara County; and the city of Richmond, CA.


    ( NOTE: For Safer 'Cleaning Product' Alternatives,
    we refer you to:

    Problem : Acid Toilet Bowl Cleaner
    SOLUTION : Non-acid Bowl Cleaner
    Go to : "ACID FREE".

    Problem : Caustic Floor Finish Stripper
    SOLUTION: Non-Caustic Floor Stripper
    Go to : "SAFE-STRIP".

    Problem : High Solvent Heavy-Duty Degreasers
    SOLUTION: Environmentally-Responsible Heavy-Duty Degreasers
    Go to :

    Problem : Caustic Sewer Drain Openers
    SOLUTION: Environmentally-Responsible Drain Openers
    Go to :

    Problem : Caustic Oven Cleaner
    SOLUTION: Environmentally-Responsible Oven Cleaner
    Go to : "CITRUS FOAMING OVEN CLEANER" (Aerosol).  

    As part of the study, an 18-month evaluation of janitors in Santa Clara County was undertaken and found that the 27,000 janitors working in the county sustained approximately 1,200 injuries annually ­ 20 percent of which are mostly chemical burns to the eyes or skin.

    A further review of just 25 percent of the county's janitors found that they used 400,000 pounds of hazardous materials annually in cleaning, or approximately 60 pounds a year per janitor.

    The pilot EPA project is being undertaken in Southern California in an effort to reduce the use of hazardous cleaning chemicals, the resulting pollution and workplace injuries to janitors and cleaners.

    Similar projects are also underway in Massachusetts and Minnesota.

    EPA TO MANUFACTURERS: Use Less Toxic Ingredients

    NEW YORK — Between 1993 and 1995, the widespread use of household disinfectants was behind the poisoning of nearly 7500 children under age 6, researchers say. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) researchers are calling on manufacturers to use less lethal ingredients and improve the safety of packaging for products including bathroom and kitchen cleaning chemicals and insecticides. EPA reports that easily accessible disinfectants-all sold as concentrates-accounted for 93 percent of the poisoning cases. If the products were diluted to ready-to-use solutions for residential use, they would be less likely to cause problems, researchers say. American Journal of Public Health June's issue stated that 1- and 2-year-old children accounted for the largest percentage of poisonings. The researchers note no deaths were reported. As a deterrent, one suggestion was using dyes that stain the skin, mouth, urine or feces of children to alert parents when children have ingested a toxic product. Researchers also suggested adding a label statement such as: "Products kept within four feet of the floor where small children may gain access should be secured".

    This Article was originally published in
    Volume No. 2, Issue No. 4, Spring 2000

    University of Minnesota Cleans House

    Not long ago, the storage of hazardous chemicals turned heads at the University of Minnesota. In fall 1998, the University’s Facilities Management Division realized that empty and partly filled cleaning product containers were piling up in over 900 janitors’ closets. A University's Safety Technician   witnessed disturbing signs. With custodians cleaning 11 million square feet every day, the container pile-up represented not just a logistical disposal problem but an ongoing employee health threat and a long-term danger to the environment.

    In a groundbreaking review for a major university, the University's Environmental Health Specialist , and his colleagues organized the Material Review Board to do a top-to-bottom evaluation of the division’s cleaning products. By winter, the board heard confounding and alarming findings. It learned that Facilities Management purchases nearly 500 different products, many of which were redundant. Worse, the shopping list included 18 varieties of floor strippers that contain some of the most toxic chemicals found in janitorial products. Many ingredients in these petrochemical-based products are listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) toxic chemical hit list, the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). The handling, use and disposal of these petrochemicals requires strict adherence to EPA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.

    The board decided to clean house. It set two goals: consolidate the number of janitorial products purchased and find safer products. Last spring Facilities Management cut from 500 to 135 the number of approved chemicals it purchases. Then, in winter 1999, the board took another landmark step. The board began exploring the advantages of replacing its petroleum-derived products with less toxic cleaners derived from plant matter. The result is a first for a major university—Facilities Management will phase out its present reliance on the old highly toxic products by 2005, the year its janitorial staff will switch entirely to biobased cleaners.

    Made from renewable resources, biobased cleaners avoid petrochemicals altogether. They contain chemical extracts and oils derived from citrus fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetable crops, and range from soy methyl esters to lactic acid esters and dimethylsulfoxide. Case studies show that biobased cleaners easily meet or exceed the performance of petrochemical ones.

    Several reasons prompted the university’s decision to kick the petrochemical habit. It's Project Coordinator Zone Manager  foresaw the inevitable enactment of stricter regulations requiring the use of less toxic chemicals. Many petroleum-based solvents and cleaners contain chemicals that are on the EPA’s TRI list, and that list is expected to grow. So rather than replace existing toxic petrochemicals with other petrochemicals that have the potential to end up being regulated, the Project's Coordinator's Team wanted a long-term solution. Because of reduced health and environmental dangers, chemicals derived from plant matter are not listed, nor are likely ever to be listed, on the EPA’s TRI list. The Project's Coordinator and his colleagues agree that making the shift to less toxic products protects the health and safety of the university’s employees, students and surrounding environment.

    The change also makes economic sense. Petrochemical-based ingredients carry hidden costs, starting with training. Large institutions typically spend more when they have to train their employees in the proper handling and use of products that fall under EPA and OSHA regulations. At the University of Minnesota, this cost was felt acutely. Given the scope of its custodial needs, Facilities Management has organized the school—one of the nation’s largest land grant universities, straddling both banks of the Mississippi River—into six geographical zones. The profusion of some 500 products was complicated enough, but further complicating matters was that different products were in use from zone to zone. Every time employees transferred to a new assignment, they had to be retrained. The Project's Coordinator calculated that by standardizing the use of janitorial products across all zones, the university will save around $20,000 per year in their training program alone.

    And the costs continue even when the petrochemical products are used up. Federal and Minnesota state regulations strictly govern the disposal of hazardous petrochemical products, something that does not come cheaply for a large institution. Accounting for the presence of TRI-listed cleaning products, the Project's Coordinator  estimates that the university pays an average disposal cost of $250 for each container with unknown content—a sum much in excess of what many of the products cost before being opened. Containers range from one quart to a 55-gallon drum and volume of disposed content varies, making it difficult to calculate the disposal cost per gallon. By switching to bulk mixing systems and reducing the number of individual container purchases, the university stands to benefit from substantial cost savings.

    Embarking on a complete overhaul of outmoded, unsafe product procurement isn’t easy, but the University's Facilities Management Division are optimistic about the benefits. Custodians have already voiced their approval of using safer biobased products.

    Image by


    According to the MAY 2002 issue of the cleaning trade magazine--"CM Cleaning & Maintenance Management magazine"--( National Trade Publications, Latham, New York, 12110 ), an article entitled,  "GREEN  Cleaning Gets A Federal Push", clearly states on page 51 : 
    "...the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) is urging federal agencies to adopt so-called "GREEN" cleaning practices and purchase environmentally-safe cleaning products...
    Next in line will be state and local governmental agencies across the country, industry experts said...".

    is a federal-wide program that encourages and assists Executive agencies in the purchasing of environmentally preferable products and services.

    What is "environmentally-preferable?"... products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose..."- Executive Order 13101

    Why purchase environmentally-preferable products and services?

    - Did you know that the United States consumes approximately 25% of the world's resources with only 5% of the world's population?

    - Did you know that the U.S. federal government is the single largest consumer of goods and services in the U.S., and probably, in the world? , ... spending more than $200 billion annually on goods and services! The federal government also spends an additional $240 billion a year, indirectly, through grant disbursements. EPA recognizes the influence the United States, and in particular, the U.S. government, has on what products and services are produced due to this tremendous purchasing power. EPP works to leverage that influence to minimize environmental burdens.

    The Benefits of Environmentally-Preferable Purchasing
  • Improved ability to meet existing environmental goals
  • Improved worker safety and health reduced liabilities
  • Reduced health and disposal costs

    The Requirements of Environmentally-Preferable Purchasing
    All federal procurement officials are required by Executive Order 13101 (PDF 96 KB) and Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) (Text file 30 KB) to assess and give preference to those products and services that are environmentally preferable.

    On September 14, 1998, President Clinton signed Executive Order (EO)13101, entitled "Greening  the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition". Executive Order 13101 (EO 13101) supersedes EO 12873, Federal Acquisition, Recycling and Waste Prevention, issued on October 20, 1993, but retains a similar requirement for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop guidance to "address environmentally preferable purchasing." (Section 503, EO 13101)

    The Final Guidance that follows is based on EPA’s September 1995 Proposed Guidance on the Acquisition of Environmentally Preferable Products and Services (60 FR 50721, September 29, 1995) and comments received on that Proposed Guidance as well as lessons learned from pilot projects conducted to date. The Final Guidance is designed to help Executive agencies meet their obligations under EO 13101 to identify and purchase environmentally preferable products and services. Section 503 (c) of EO 13101 directs Executive agencies to "use the principles and concepts in the EPA Guidance on Acquisition of Environmentally Preferable Products and Services, in addition to the lessons from the pilot and demonstration projects to the maximum extent practicable, in identifying and purchasing environmentally preferable products and services" and "modify their procurement programs as appropriate". Furthermore, Section 23.704 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation requires agencies to "affirmatively implement" the objective of "obtaining products and services considered to be environmentally preferable (based on EPA-issued guidance)".

    "Environmentally preferable" is defined in Section 201 of EO 13101 to mean products or services that "have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance or disposal of the product or service".

    Implementation of the Final Guidance will draw on the procurement experience of the Executive agencies and on the environmental expertise of EPA and other organizations both within and outside of the Federal government. This guidance provides a broad framework of issues to consider in environmentally preferable purchasing and will help Executive agencies systematically integrate environmental preferability principles into their buying decisions.
  • Executive Order 13148 - Greening  the Government Through Leadership in Environmental Management The new Executive Order 13148 - Greening  the Government through Leadership in Environmental Management - was signed on April 21, 2000. The Executive Order requires federal agencies to incorporate environmental management systems into agency day-to-day decision-making and long term planning processes. Pollution Prevention is highlighted as a key aspect to the environmental management system process.
  • Executive Order 13101 - Greening  the Government Through Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition On September 14, 1998, President Clinton signed Executive Order 13101, entitled "Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition." Executive Order 13101 supersedes EO 12873, Federal Acquisition, Recycling and Waste Prevention, issued on October 20,1993. This Executive Order requires executive agencies to incorporate waste prevention and recycling into the agency’s daily operation. It also asks executive agencies to work to increase and expand markets for recovered materials through greater Federal Government preference and demand for such products.
  • Executive Order 12873 - Federal Acquisition, Recycling and Waste Prevention This Executive Order directs federal agencies to evaluate the environmental attributes of the products and services they purchase.

    EPA/742/Z-93/001 October 1993, Overall Approach for Implementing Executive Order 13101,
    Section 503 of EO 13101 has two key components:

    (1) development of this guidance; and

    (2) implementation of the guidance through pilot and demonstration projects. This guidance sets a broad policy framework for implementing environmentally-preferable purchasing within the context of Federal government. For the second component, Section 503 (b) of the EO states "[A]gencies are encouraged to immediately test and evaluate the principles and concepts contained in the EPA’s Guidance...through pilot projects...". These pilots may be undertaken using the in-house expertise of EPA and other Executive agencies, as well as the technical expertise of nongovernmental entities, including, but not limited to, voluntary consensus standards bodies (see§ 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (Pub. L. 104-113, §12(d), 15 U.S.C. 272 note), environmental standard setting organizations, third party certification programs, environmental labeling or environmental "report card" programs, and other environmental consulting organizations. Section V of this Final Guidance provides more detail about how these pilot projects might work. These pilots are expected to yield more specific and practical information about applying this Final Guidance to purchases of particular products and services.

    In addition to promoting environmentally-preferable purchasing, EO 13101 encourages Executive agencies to purchase bio-based products. (Section 504 (b)). Under the EO, "biobased product" means "a commercial or industrial product (other than food or feed) that utilizes biological products or renewable domestic agricultural (plant, animal and marine) or forestry materials." Bio-based products may also be environmentally-preferable. Made from renewable resources by definition, these products have many positive environmental aspects and should be considered by agencies looking to make environmentally preferable purchases. However, Federal purchasers should not assume all bio-based products are automatically environmentally-preferable. As with other products, Executive agencies should consider a range of environmental impacts associated with bio-based products when making purchasing decisions. In some cases, factors such as pesticide use or high water consumption might make a bio-based product less environmentally-preferable. The list of bio-based products which the U.S. Department of Agriculture will issue under Section 504 of EO 13101 will be a good starting point for Executive agencies looking to identify environmentally-preferable purchasing. During the development of pilots under Section 503 (b) of the EO, EPA will look for opportunities involving bio-based products.

    "GREEN" Cleaning Product Attributes

    Natural Resource Use

    -Avoidance of nonrenewable resources, such as petroleum-or hydrocarbon-based materials*
    -Use of renewable resources, such as biobased citrus, seed, vegetable, and pine oils.

    Manufacturing/Product Content

    Some organizations have applied these criteria to substances used in the manufacturing process as well as the final product.

    -Company's environmental policy and reputation
    -Absence of potentially harmful chemicals, such as:
    1. Irritating artificial dyes and/or fragrances
    2. Substances classified as known or likely human carcinogens by authorities such as the National Toxicology Program, the US EPA, or the International Agency for Research on Cancer
    3. Ozone-depleting compounds
    4. Chemicals listed under the State of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65) as causing reproductive toxicity)
    5. Regulated hazardous materials (e.g. products classified as hazardous waste; products that trigger OSHA hazard communication requirements)

    Product Packaging

    -Concentrated formulas*
    -Reduced packaging
    -Packaging designed to reduce exposure to product
    -Recyclable packaging
    -Recycled-content packaging
    -Refillable bottles
    -Pump sprays rather than aerosols*
    -Products shipped in bulk

    Product Use

    -Acute toxicity - usually defined in terms of a single dose or short-term air concentration that can cause lethality (LD 50 /LC 50 )
    -Effects on air quality (VOC content)
    -Chronic toxicity (includes a wide variety of adverse effects that can result from long-term exposure to a substance)
    -Corrosiveness (pH)
    -Flashpoint (a higher flashpoint indicates a lower potential for flammability/combustibility; liquids with a flashpoint below 100 degrees F are considered flammable)
    -Likelihood of exposure to concentrate
    -Skin and eye irritation potential
    -Effective with cold water instead of hot, which will help reduce energy use

    Product Disposal

    -Aquatic toxicity
    -Hazardous waste classification (is the product considered a RCRA hazardous waste by one or more criteria, e.g. acute toxicity, corrosivity, etc.?)

    *More Information...

    -The consumption of petroleum, a nonrenewable resource, to be used for energy during manufacture and/or as a product component, can serve as an indicator of acid rain, climate change potential, air pollution, and associated human health risks, as well as risks to endangered species and fragile ecosystems.
    -Choose pump spray containers instead of aerosols. Pressurized aerosol products are usually high in VOC content. Aerosol propellants often produce a finer mist, so the product can more easily be inhaled by workers. Aerosol containers may be hazardous to workers if punctured. Also, any hazardous product left in an aerosol container makes the entire container a regulated hazardous waste, which means more expensive disposal.
    -In general, concentrated formulas are preferred because they reduce the amount of packaging and reduce the amount of energy used in shipping the product. However, concentrated products can present hazard issues that must be addressed to ensure worker safety and proper disposal.
    -Disinfectant products serve an important function in certain areas. However, many of these products can present health or ecological concerns. Disinfectant products should be limited to applications where it is important to control infectious agents. Many types of general purpose cleaning do not require the use of disinfectants.

    Guiding Principle(s):

    For More Information, go to :

    Environment + Price + Performance = Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

    Environmental considerations should become part of normal purchasing practice, consistent with such traditional factors as product safety, price, performance, and availability. The manufacture, use, and disposal of certain products might have adverse impacts on human health and the environment. These impacts impose costs that the purchasing entity, and ultimately, society as a whole, end up paying for in one way or another. For the Federal government, the hazardous or toxic nature of a product or service can result in significant cleanup or liability costs, as well as in less directly quantifiable, but cumulative and persistent environmental damage. Even non-hazardous waste is associated with ever-increasing disposal costs that can be avoided or reduced. Responsible management, beginning with the initial purchase of products and services that minimize environmental burdens, can diminish the Federal government’s raw material, operating, maintenance, and disposal costs. In addition, a product or service’s environmental preferability can often have positive impacts on its overall performance. For these reasons, the Federal government’s purchasing decisions are no longer confined to considerations of price and functional performance but should include considerations of environmental performance as well. Today agencies can obtain improved environmental attributes not at the expense of, but instead may operate in concert with, other traditional factors like price and functional performance. Those product or service providers who can optimize all these factors will capture and maintain the largest market-share of government customers. Just like price, performance, and health and safety, environmental factors should be a subject of competition among vendors seeking government contracts. In turn, this increased competition among vendors should stimulate continuous environmental improvement and increase the availability of environmentally preferable products and services. The purpose of this guidance is to encourage Executive agencies to award contracts to companies that take environmental concerns into account. This process, consequently, will lead to the development of environmentally preferable products and services that perform better and cost less because they reduce waste and negative environmental impacts. As stated, this principle reflects the spirit of a number of reinvention initiatives at EPA and across the Federal government aimed at testing cleaner, cheaper, and smarter approaches to environmental protection. Agencies have considerable discretion in incorporating environmental preferability into procurement decisions, especially within the context of "best value" contracting. For example, environmental considerations that result in payment of a price premium for goods or services may be reasonably related to an agency’s definition of its "minimum needs" and, therefore, may be permissible. This is not much different than paying a higher price for better performance or quality. Federal personnel may consider paying a reasonable premium for environmentally preferable products on a number of grounds. For example, a reasonable price premium may be justified because the environmental attributes of a product or service provide offsetting reductions in operating and disposal costs.



    ARE YOU,



    **Why are we concerned about the cleaning chemicals in your workplace, child's  school, or home?? Read on and then MAKE A CHANGE to environmentally "GREEN" responsible cleaning products. It just makes sense to do it! WHY are you waiting? If you feel that present conditions are affecting the health & welfare of you and your family, MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Your Influence COUNTS....USE IT!!


    SHOCKING  Facts!!!

    • # 1 ) Allergic reactions to "Sick" Indoor Environments account for
      more than 10 million workdays missed by U.S. employees each year.
    • # 2 ) Allergic reactions to "Sick" Indoor Environments keep
      10, 000 American children out of school each day
    • # 3 ) A U.C.L.A. study indicates that "adverse health effects have been identified
      regarding common chemical ingredients found in 222 cleaning products."
    • # 4 ) According to a latest medical report , conventional cleaning chemicals are
      NEUROTOXINS which may impair a child's developmental and learning abilities.
    • # 5 ) Forty-one ( 41 ) percent of Health-related "housekeeping" complaints are related to
      airborne indoor dust and the by-products of breeding dust mites.

    READ ON...

    ( National Trade Publications,Inc., Latham, N.Y., copyright, 2001) .

    ( A PERSONAL NOTE: the cleaningpro )

    Years ago, when "HEALTHY CLEAN BUILDINGS®"  was preaching its dedication to the replacing of existing,'toxic' and 'hazardous' cleaning chemicals with environmentally-responsible, reduced-toxicity alternatives , we got  "THE LOOK"  from most facility managers. The select few understood the message, most were skeptical and cynical, and the remainder were just plain "Archie Bunkerish" about it.

    In the July 2001 editions of diverse publications such as  GOOD HOUSEKEEPING and Cleaning & Maintenance Management (CM), it was reported simultaneously on the possible poisoning of the human body with cleaning chemicals.

    It's very gratifying to know that us "alarmists" , "healthnuts", "wackadoos", and "extremists" seem to have been just ahead of our time regarding these common sense cleaning issues !! Mainstream America is finally being educated through the mass media about the health issues regarding cleaning chemicals. Perhaps... WE, "THE CONCERNED" can NOW urge FACILITY MANAGERS to :


    It seems that Facility Managers, especially in schools ( where children's welfare are at stake ), do not wish to see the larger picture or trends regarding this please allow us to drive the point home. Presently, the E.P.A.'s Tools for Schools Action Plan is recognized as a voluntary program for implementation at the discretion of the public school district. However, industry experts predict that these guidelines will be mandated by the year 2005-06 after it is shown that most school officials just don't seem to care about its implementation. Additionally, advocacy groups---like the "Healthy School Network", "Beyond Insecticides", and such--- are justifiably educating the general public and politicians of necessary legislation to safeguard children in indoor school environments.

    For example, here on Long Island, New York, a large school district recently chose a proven "toxic and hazardous" , nationally branded, proprietary "Cleaning Solution Center" System district-wide over our accredited "HEALTHY & SAFE" Daily School Cleaning Program ALTHOUGH OUR PROGRAM is STILL being introduced in this same district ONLY in school buildings where parents have shown concern regarding the health and safety of their children regarding cleaning chemicals and the over-all school environment. What hypocrisy ! Although our program is used in this district, it serves only as a tool to appease "complaining parents". In those buildings where our program is being instituted, the head custodians are reporting better cleaning results, a sense of a healthier environment, economy of scale, lower chemical consumption, and a reduction in spending. In fact, custodial eyebrows are being raised regarding their supervisors' lack of concern over their own health and safety by choosing a "toxic" system over a proven healthier one. In this instance, old vendor loyalties won over the best alternative to serve the health interests of the district's students, teachers, and staff. Incredulously, these same facility managers can look parents straight in the face and state that the " health and safety" of their children are their department's # 1 priority.

    In short, the ammunition is being presented to the general public in widely read magazines and viewed news shows with the facility manager as its target. Unless facility managers are wearing bullet-proof vests, WE, as building occupants and inhabitants of the indoor environments MUST DEMAND cleaning product evaluation program regarding the health and safety of existing cleaning programs, especially since WE "live and work"; and "breathe the air" within these workspaces each and every day.


    INDOOR AIR QUALITY (I.A.Q.)  has become a hot topic among health-oriented groups and agencies. Organizations like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the American Lung Association, the World Health Organization, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have adopted or are adopting IAQ policies. According to the EPA website, "the EPA and its Science Advisory Board have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health." EPA statistics show levels of many airborne pollutants may be two to five — to even 100 times — higher indoors than outdoors, a noteworthy fact since most Americans spend 90 percent of their time inside.

    According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 50 percent of all illnesses are caused by or aggravated by polluted indoor air. U.S. Department of Energy studies suggest that improving building environments would reduce health care costs and sick leave while increasing worker performance for a productivity gain of $30 to $150 billion annually.

    Additionally, a recent report by the UCLA Pollution Prevention Education and Research Center, "Adverse health effects have been identified for a number of [common chemical ingredients found in 222 cleaning products] ... For example, reproductive toxicity [e.g.,infertility] has been associated with ethylene glycol methyl ether and ethylene glycol ethyl ether, while the most widely used compound, EGBE (ethylene glycol butyl ether), contained in 22 percent of the sample products, is a "suspected carcinogen." The environmental and occupational hazards associated with many of these chemicals are not well understood, but the center’s director, Robert Gottlieb, cites "increasing concern because they are sources of indoor air pollution and multiple occupational exposures, and...may be released... into the ambient environment."

    Other studies show improper dust collection leaves behind contaminants like dust mites, dead skin cells, chalk dust, virus-laden particles, pet dander, soil, clothing fiber, carpet fragments, mold, bacteria, and insect parts which may contribute to chronic headaches, sinus congestion and infection, sore throat, asthma and fatigue.

    By Caren Benjamin
    The Associated Press

    Washington,   May 12, 2000 - A pregnant woman who spends a few hours on a home-improvement project may unwittingly be putting her child at risk for problems ranging from hyperactivity to autism, a group of Boston-area doctors said in a report. The reason is chemical ingredients found in common household cleaning chemical products like solvents and pesticides. No one knows how dangerous they are to human brain development because the government doesn't require companies to perform such tests before bringing products to market, the "Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility " said in a report recently released.    Tests on animals show there is cause for concern about products ranging from glue to flea collars to nail polish, said the report by the group, an affiliate of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning national "Physicians for Social Responsibility ". The Boston organization said the federal government should start requiring tests to ensure chemicals do not harm human brain development.

       The EPA currently is considering restricting use or dosage of the pesticides Dursban and Lorsban because of concerns about the products' effects on children. Both are used in a range of products from lawn insecticides to flea collars for pets.

    Here Are The Facts:



    HARRISBURG,PA — Cleaning compounds and pesticides are among the chemicals listed in a report linked to developmental disabilities, including behavioral and learning disabilities.

    "The Clean Water Fund" and "Physicians for Social Responsibility" released a study on May 11, 2000, "In Harm’s Way," a study of lead, mercury, cadmium, and manganese; pesticides; dioxins and PCBs; solvents used in gasoline, paints, glues and CLEANING CHEMICALS; nicotine and alcohol.

    The report conclusively found that one million children in the United States now exceed the accepted level above which lead affects behavior and cognition. The report also found that over 80 percent of adults and 90 percent of children in the United States have residues of one or more harmful pesticides in their bodies. Experts conclude that it is critical that we understand the impact of these neurotoxic chemicals on developmental and learning disabilities. The urgency of this issue is underscored by the fact that between 5 percent and 10 percent of school children in America have learning disabilities, and at least an equivalent amount have ADHD,” (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). The concerns raised by this report suggest the need for a new precautionary approach that protects the health of future generations by reducing exposure to these neurotoxicants. One obvious place to start this awareness is by passing state legislation that would reduce the use of pesticides in our schools, making sure that the school environment doesn’t put our children in harm’s way.



    ALBANY, NEW YORK, June 2, 2000-Healthy Schools Network routinely deals with sick kids and sick adults in sick schools. The clock is ticking on kids and there are no easy answers.

      Our Info and Referral Services have guides, literature, factsheets to help schools and parents cope. Too many schools are stuck in the dark ages of  BAD-OLD-CHEMISTRY  and haven't done cost-effective "GREEN"  product switches.

      Last month we released a survey report of NYS school nurses, finding that 71% knew children in their buildings whose health and learning were compromised due to indoor pollution. Nurses, like other school employees, are reluctant to share environmental bad news with parents.

    Claire Barnett
    Executive Director
    Healthy Schools Network, Inc.
    e-mail :



    Reprinted from: "CM Cleaning & Maintenance Management Magazine",
    National Trade Publications, 13 Century Hill Drive, Latham, New York, 12110; July, 2000 Issue; page 40; Article entitled:


    "Seventy-one (71) percent of 200 nurses from across NEW YORK STATE reported that they know of children in their schools whose learning or health was affected by polluting products in the building: including, PESTICIDES, BATHROOM DEODORIZERS, and other "TOXIC" CLEANING PRODUCTS.

    ( The following excerpts were taken from ‘CM NEWS DAILY’-an electronic news service from ‘Cleaning & Maintenance Management’ and ‘Cleanfax’ magazines, published by National Trade Publications,Inc., Latham, N.Y., copyright, 2001) .
    Dateline : July 26, 2001


    NEW YORK : Custodians may unwittingly be placing their children's health in jeopardy, a new study indicates.

    The study released this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicates that on-the-job exposure to certain substances, including lacquer thinner, turpentine, diesel fuel and wood dust, may increase the chances his children will develop childhood cancer.

    The study reports that a higher prevalence of neuroblastoma (the third most common childhood cancer) in the children of fathers who were exposed to these chemicals and other hydrocarbons repeatedly on the job.

    Neuroblastoma occurs in infants, children and, very rarely, adults. It is a quick-growing cancer that arises in nerve tissue. By the time it is diagnosed, the disease has usually spread to the lymph nodes, lungs, liver or bones. Treatment involves a combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant.

    The study ­ which looked at 472 fathers of children under the age of 19 who have the disease and 445 fathers of healthy children - found exposure to turpentine increased neuroblastoma risk more than 10-fold, while men exposed to lacquer thinner were 3.5 times as likely to have a child with neuroblastoma.

    One possible explanation for the finding may be that the chemical exposure damages a man's sperm, the authors speculate.Researchers are calling for more research on the topic.Earlier research had also indicated an occupational connection. Research has also indicated a link with the termite pesticide chlordane and the cancer.

    The cleaning industry's "CM e-News Daily" and its parent magazine--"CM Management"--(both widely read trade news leaders) has repeatedly warned of the potential health dangers certain ingredients in cleaning chemicals pose.


    NEWTON, MASS. — On May 16th, one day after the release of a study linking cleaning compounds and pesticides to behavioral disorders in children (see above), the non-profit research group, "Silent Spring Institute (SSI)" says it will prepare a study to develop guidelines for testing of chemicals found in household cleaners and furniture finishes that may cause breast cancer in women. The study will compile a list of chemicals already identified as causing mammary tumors in animals and will develop guidelines for how additional chemicals should be tested. About 100 compounds have been identified as priorities for breast cancer research because they cause mammary tumors in animals. Researchers suspect human breast cancer may be related to these compounds, pollutants found in household products, including some cleaners, furniture finishes, and pesticides. With breast cancer affecting one out of eight women, this new study is designed to examining environmental links to cancer and especially breast cancer.

    ( The following excerpts were taken from ‘CM NEWS DAILY’-an electronic news service from ‘Cleaning & Maintenance Management’ and ‘Cleanfax’ magazines, published by National Trade Publications,Inc., Latham, N.Y., copyright, 2001) . )

    Dateline : July 10, 2001



    LATHAM, NY — There is rising speculation that products such as those used in paint stripping for years — still employed in commercial applications — are responsible for a variety of health problems.

    Some of the same solvents have been used in carpet cleaning specialty products, floor strippers, degreasers, toilet bowl cleaners and other applications for years.

    The United States Air Force has become a leading edge in the replacement of volatile solvents with low-toxic and non-toxic alternatives. Even as contractors serving airplane manufacturing and maintenance companies continue to use volatile, corrosive solvents, higher military standards in bid specs demand "alternative" solvents — petroleum-based products processed to reduce toxicity or phytochemicals. These products do the same job; however, they require more "dwell" time.

    However, Good Housekeeping — widely read by the same people who call on carpet cleaning professionals to clean their home carpets — speculates on a possible link between the strong solvent-based strippers once used on military aircraft, jet fuels, paints, etc. and an unusually high incidence of a rare disease and various cancers.

    Feature Story with Robert Bazell, NBC Correspondent, Lifeline


    May 29, 2001--"IT’S VERY obvious to anyone who practices in the field of allergy that there are many patients who walk around who are misdiagnosed," recently stated a noted allergist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

    To find out just how many patients fit into that category, a professor of pharmacy administration at Ohio State University studied 265 patients taking medications for allergies. Fully 65 percent did not suffer from allergies, the study found.

    An allergic reaction occurs when a foreign substance in the environment such as pollen, cause cells in our bodies to release a chemical called histamine that causes inflammation of the nose and eyes. Anti-allergy drugs block the histamine, but don’t do anything if there is no such reaction. The common cold, exposure to chemicals, and a condition called "sinusitis" can all cause allergy-like symptoms even if there is no allergy.

    ( NOTE : Exposure to scented personal care and cleaning chemical products can cause body cells to "load up" with superfluous "toxic" chemicals. This condition can trigger and escalate cases of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities; not to mention, Asthma; various Cancers, and other proven, chemically-related diseases. ).

    People who are misdiagnosed can waste many dollars for prescription drugs, taking medicines they don’t need. And although side effects are rare, the medications fail to solve the real problem. Only skin testing can reveal definitively if a person is truly allergic. While the process is time-consuming and expensive, for millions, it could cost less than unnecessary prescription drugs.

    According to the "American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology", an allergic reaction is the body's immune system reacting inappropriately to foreign substance. The immune system perceives the foreign substance as dangerous and invasive which triggers an adverse reaction.

    Here is HOW an Allergic Reaction Occurs

    #1 ) Airborne ALLERGENS ( in the form of mold, dander, pollen, chemical fumes, and such ) enters the eyes, nose, and lungs where they provoke the immune system to produce Immunoglobulin E ( IgE ) antibodies.

    #2 ) The IgE antibodies coat the surface of basophils ( circulating white blood cells ) and mast cells ( another type of immune cell that lines the airways ). When allergens subsequently enter the body, they bind to these antibodies. This prompts the basophils and mast cells to take action.

    #3 ) Basophils and mast cells release a torrent of body chemicals, including histomine and leukotrienes. These pro-inflammatory chemicals are what cause allergic symptoms.

    # 4 ) This chemical cascade can lead to runny eyes and nose; congestion; sneezing; itchy eyes and throat. In the lungs, this reaction can cause swelling in the lining of the airways and mucous secretion- leading to wheezing and severe coughing.

    LATEST MEDICAL RESEARCH: Avoid Allergens for Life-long Health!

    NEW YORK — Cleaners who stress the health benefits of their service should note a report in May 2000's "Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology", which says avoiding allergens early in life can decrease the risk of developing asthma. A researcher reports that adults with hay fever or other allergies are up to three times to develop asthma those who don’t display those symptoms.Increasing age raises the likelihood of developing asthma, researchers note. However, asthma symptoms can decline in people diagnosed with the respiratory ailment at a young age.

    Another report says nearly half of all Americans are in line for a heavy dose of allergens as they settle down for a good night’s sleep. The National Allergen Survey of 831 homes across the US, conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), found that the bedding in over 45 per cent of them contained at least two micrograms of dust-mite allergen per gram — enough to cause allergies to develop. The American Lung Association reports that more than 23 per cent of homes have dust-mite allergen levels of 10 micrograms per gram — enough to cause asthmatic symptoms.

    ( We thank Ms. Ellen Weininger, Healthy School Network, for the following contribution )


    SUBSTANCE                                % OF ASTHMATICS
                                                            TRIGGERED BY SUBSTANCE

    INSECTICIDE                                                   85%

    HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS                             78%

    PERFUME/COLOGNE                                     72%

    CIGARETTE SMOKE                                      75%

    FRESH PAINT                                                   73%

    CAR EXHAUST / GAS                                       60%

    COOKING ODORS                                            37%

    BODY ODORS                                                    20%

    MINT                                                                    10%

    Source: Shim, Chang, M.D., Williams, M. Henry, Jr., "Effects of Odors on Asthma." The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 80, January 1986, pp. 18-22


    Children's Asthmatic Attack

    WASHINGTON--3/7/01-- Focusing on results from a study published in the Pediatrics Journal pointing out the HARMFUL EFFECTS of HOUSEHOLD ALLERGENS on children suffering from asthma, the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) is urging frequent cleaning to control allergens.

    The SDA refers to a new study by the Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati concluding that elimination of household allergens could result in a reduction of childhood asthma cases of almost 40 percent. The leading "triggers" of asthma includes tobacco smoke, dust and dust mites, animal dander, pollen, cockroaches, chemical residues and mold &  mildew.
    Health professionals agree that cleaning is one of the most important ways of controlling indoor allergens and reducing symptoms for people with asthma. They also advise to adapt lifestyle strategies to help prevent exposure to allergens that can cause asthma.

    Image by
    Dust Mite     IRRITANT DUST

    So you know...outdoor dust is nothing more than powdery, dry dirt. Contrary to most understandings, indoor dust is an amalgamation of allergic triggers. It is a microscopic mix of dry skin, pet dander, insect parts, dead sneezed viruses, soils, clothing fibers, carpet fragments, molds, and bacteria (just to name a few). An estimated 80% of indoor dust consists of "skin fluff". "Skin fluff" is the broken off skin particles that are constantly shed from the skin's surface. The average person loses about 10 pounds of dead skin each year. These kerantized cells, which are pushed off by new cells in the dermis layer about every 12 weeks, provides an endless food supply to microbial and insecticidal invasion. Along with free roaming insects such as silverfish, spiders, flies, ants, and mosquitoes, the dastardly, microscopic, dust-related insect, DUST MITE, known as 'Dermatophophagordes Pteronyssimus', is acknowledged as one of the biggest breeders in this type of dust. Dead human skin is THE primary source of food for dust mites. Measuring approximately 0.01 of an inch long, the dust mite enjoys the warmth and moisture of a "sealed" indoor environment and an endless supply of "skin" meals. For reference purposes, a "just" washed pillowcase can easily result in a head count of 10,000 mites. However poor cleaning practices can easily result in 400,000 mites.

    Although the indoor dust and mites themselves are allergic triggers, the culprit creating "REAL" allergy problems are the bodily functions of the dust mite. It's fecal droppings create and magnify all of the allergic conditions associated with dust allergies including respiratory congestion, chronic headaches, fatigue, sinus infections, sore throat, or asthma. EACH DUST MITE LEAVES BEHIND ABOUT 20 PELLETS OF FECAL MATTER PER DAY !! do the math from the example provided above: 400,000 (on just a poorly cleaned pillowcase) X 20 fecal droppings per day = 8 million fecal droppings per day. Each pellet measures about 10 to 24 microns in size. To put that in perspective, the diameter of the human hair measures 80-100 microns. Imagine what a large carpeted area is festering when compared to a meager pillow case.

    Statistically, 2 out of 10 people (with children it is almost doubled) are automatically "allergic to" and "affected by" something within their environment. In many cases, dust mite fecal droppings is the "allergic trigger" within an enclosed indoor environment, even more so than dust and the dust mite itself.

    Allergies seem trivial to people who don't have them...but, their effects, such as eye itching, nasal congestion, coughing, hives, vomiting, and diarrhea are NOT being created by one's imagination or fantasies. Whatever form an allergy takes, the symptom is the same: THE HUMAN BODY REACTS AS IF UNDER ATTACK BY A DISEASE-CAUSING PATHOGEN. When dust is disturbed through feather dusting, dust mopping, regular vacuuming, the allergic-proned individual is walking through a "dust cloud" of "dried skin, insect parts, dust mites, and fecal droppings". No wonder WHY he/she feels "SICK".!!

    This microscopic pest is followed right behind by "mold & mildew" and "chemical residues" (NOT necessarily in that order) as KEY areas to address. By just focusing and improving these 3 key areas, any facility or home will take on an entire "healthier" outlook. The prime consideration is that ALL cleaning, and especially, carpet cleaning, MUST PROMOTE HEALTH, and not just cosmetic appearance. By identifying, planning, and focusing on these factors, all of us will be able to "breathe easier" indoors.


    Dust Mite & Dust

    A REPORT from  WASHINGTON — "The Institute of Medicine reports microscopic dust mites inhabiting carpets and bedding can cause children with susceptibility to develop full-blown asthma, which affects approximately 17.3 million Americans. The number of cases of asthma, which leaves sufferers coughing, wheezing and gasping for breath, has risen about 75 percent since 1980, according to the Institute. The rise is among blacks and poor, inner-city populations. The fact that dust mites are present in nearly everyone eliminates them as sole cause of asthma. But in children genetically susceptible to asthma, exposure to dust mites can lead to the disease, the report says. Secondhand smoke may prove to be a similar trigger for young children. It suggests eliminating fabric upholstery, carpets, pets and smoking and exterminating cockroaches. Controlling humidity is particularly important, because dust mites and cockroaches thrive in humid conditions. Doctors have long warned that certain allergens can worsen asthma, triggering or exacerbating attacks of breathlessness. The report may serve as a practical guide to asthma effectors in the indoor environment and suggests practical steps to ease symptoms. It concludes dust mites, cockroaches, cat dander and, for preschool children, secondhand tobacco smoke are the proven culprits in making asthma worse for those who already have the disease. Evidence suggests mold (existing in every public and commercial restroom), dog dander and pollution from poorly burning gas stoves also play a role in worsening asthma."

    Small Children Suffer The Most From Home Allergens

    Original Publication Date: 4/9/00

    Daily News Staff Writer

    A mother puts an oxygen mask on
    her asthmatic 5 year old daughter.

    Five-year-old Quinisha has been hospitalized six times, placed in intensive care once and rushed to the emergency room on more occasions than her mother can remember. The little girl has severe asthma, diagnosed when she was just a month old.

    Now there's hope that in the future, other children won't have to suffer as Quinisha does: A new study coordinated by Columbia University researchers and local community groups is monitoring how and when allergies linked to asthma first strike.

    Last month, the team unveiled stunning preliminary data: Common allergens can start sensitizing a baby's immune system even before birth. The data may one day help explain why asthma can strike newborns as it did Quinisha. The researchers also are spearheading a "Healthy Home, Healthy Child"  campaign. It's designed to spread the word to parents and families on how to reduce many allergens and other harmful home toxins like pesticides, metals (including lead) and bad air.


    Asthma rates jumped 78% between 1980 and 1993 and hit New York children hard: They go to the hospital three to five times more often than other young asthmatics in the United States, says the city's Department of Health.

    Those living in northern Manhattan and the South Bronx are affected the most. In 1997, children in East Harlem were hospitalized for asthma five times more often than those from the upper West Side or Murray Hill.

    Yet no one actually knows what causes asthma, notes Dr. Jean Ford, director of the Harlem Lung Center. One clue: 75% of asthmatics also have allergies. "We asked, 'What are our babies and infants being exposed to?'" Ford says.

    Last year, researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health joined with a community advocacy group, West Harlem Environmental ACTion Inc. ( WE ACT ), to track the earliest exposures to asthma-linked allergens such as certain pests, pesticides and cigarette smoke. They monitored the air breathed by 560 pregnant mothers and, later, tested the mothers' blood and the leftover blood in the newborns' umbilical cords, looking for molecular changes that indicate allergic sensitization.

    More work needs to be done, but early results showed widespread exposure among the mothers to pesticides. Many of the unborn babies had developed sensitivity to air pollutants and allergens. The cord blood had markers for secondhand smoke, though none of the mothers smoked. This is bad news for the mothers, but worse still for their babies: Children are at special risk from allergies because their immature immune systems are least able to cope with environmental irritants, says Dr. Frederica Perera, head of the Columbia Center. Many allergens are indoors, where city youngsters spend more than 93% of their time. Also, because children are small, they live and breathe close to the ground, cheek by jowl with heavy fumes, smoke, insect particles, pets, pesticides, mold, dust mites, lead and mercury residues.

    Experts blame the older buildings common in northern neighborhoods for high concentrations of these substances, especially if they are badly maintained. Also suspect is air pollution in general: Six of Manhattan's eight bus terminals are above 98th St., notes Peggy Shepard at "WE ACT". Also, urban blight can itself have an toxic effect, says Dr. Mindy Fullilove, a psychiatrist and expert in community health at Columbia.

    Any fire can unleash irritant-filled soot and create blistered, flaking paint. But if landlords are slow to address the damage or, worse, don't make repairs at all — common in economically deprived areas — residents will leave and the community as a whole suffers. Too often, the result can be a neighborhood atmosphere that makes those who remain fearful, stressed and more vulnerable to illness.


    Getting the word out about dangerous substances — both asthma-linked allergens and toxins that can harm a child's mental or physical development — can work, says Columbia's Dr. David Evans. Even 15 years ago, the danger of lead poisoning was not as widely known as it is today; thanks to education campaigns, 98% of those surveyed last fall by his group knew flaking paint can bode ill. But few realize just now how insidious the danger can be. In 1992, days after Cordell Cleare's baby, Emmanuel, was born, water damage from a fire upstairs wrecked her West Harlem apartment. It took years to finish fixing the apartment — and no one told Cleare that floating in the air were particles of peeling lead paint. By age 3, Emmanuel had more than four times the lead in his system deemed safe by the federal government. His behavior regressed: He stopped talking and went back to diapers. Cleare had to seek shelter in a lead-free safe house in the Bronx. Today, Emmanuel, 7, has lead levels within normal ranges, but remains in special education classes. "I got him the help I could as soon as I could, and he got his speech back," says Cleare, who now leads a volunteer anti-lead group. "But who is to say what has been lost?"


    Some environmental improvements will require local and state legislation, says Shepard. Meanwhile, here's what parents can do now to make homes safer for their children, born and unborn.

    Air Pollution
    Secondhand cigarette smoke, diesel fuel and car exhaust.
    What It Does :
    Increases a child's risk for asthma, allergies.
    What You Can Do :
    Don't smoke at home or near children, or if pregnant. For help quitting, call your local chapter of the American Cancer Society. If someone smokes at your house, open the windows and turn on the fans.

    Toxic Metals
    Lead and mercury (quicksilver from broken thermometers or rubbed on the floor in ritual purification ceremonies in some Caribbean immigrant cultures).
    What They Do :
    Damage the nervous system, brain development and other organs.
    What You Can Do :
    For MERCURY, the NYC Department of Health advises :
    Use safe alternatives for spiritual ceremonial practices. Don't vacuum, sweep or mop spilled mercury; don't dump down sinks (it can evaporate and return as fumes).
    For small spills (such as the amount in a thermometer): Wear rubber gloves, collect spills in an eyedropper, place on a paper towel, seal inside a Ziploc bag; use sticky tape to collect tiniest droplets. Put dropper, tape, plastic gloves in sealed bag. Dispose in regular trash. Open windows to air fumes.
    For larger spills, call your State or City's Department of Environmental Protection.

    For LEAD, regarding peeling paint in buildings built before 1960,
        ***Call your local city, town, or village Housing or Building Department.
        ***Test children in such homes by their 1st birthday.
        ***Vacuum often.
        ***Get the water tested.
        ***Have children wash their hands after playing on the floor.
        ***Let water run cold before drinking or using in cooking.
               (Hot water will draw out lead if it is in the pipes.)

    Roach, plant and insect sprays, flea and tick shampoos, rat poison, bug repellents ( may be more prevalent this season because of the West Nile-like virus ).
    What They Do :
    Can cause allergic reactions or asthma attacks.
    What You Can Do :
    For rodents,  use snap traps or glue boards (placed out of children's reach). For roaches, use boric acid ( Go to : "BORIC ACID ROACH KILLER" ) and diatomaceous earth (it has tiny hard shells in it). Boric acid kills bacteria roaches need for digestion. Diatoms rub holes in the insect's exoskeleton "and then the roach dries out and dies," says Evans. But use it sparingly: Boric acid has some low toxicity for children. If you must use pesticides, store them out of reach and use the gel forms instead of the sprays, which children can inhale. Remove children, toys and pets from any area before using a pesticide.

    ( Dust mites, roach particles, mouse urine, rat droppings, pets ).
    What They Do :
    Can irritate respiratory systems, triggering allergies and asthma.
    What You Can Do :
    Practice integrated pest management — deny them food, water, shelter and access.
        **If you child is allergic to pets, give the pets away. Get rid of stuffed animals and rugs.
        **Tightly bag garbage and get rid of it every night. Put foods like flour or chips
              in sealed plastic or glass containers.
        **Repair leaky faucets.
    Rodents: Cover holes and other entry points with copper mesh. Report holes or cracks to the landlord. Throw out rugs: Some mice urinate all the time, "on the move," says Ford.
    Bugs: Fix torn window screens to block mosquitoes. Seal or caulk cracks with putty or even duct tape. Use plastic mattress and pillow covers and wash bed linens in hot water frequently: This does more to stop dust mites than vacuuming. Use a damp mop on the floor to reduce dust. Vacuum when children are out: It kicks up dust. Change vacuum bags on vacuuming equipment on a regular basis.

    For advice and help, call:
        ***Your Local Department of Health
        ***Your State or City's Department of Environmental Protection
             ( for dust, air, water, noise and asbestos abatement. )
        ***Federal Center for Disease Control
              ( for mold, asbestos, lead ).


    Eying Lawsuit over Toxic Washington Heights Dwelling

    Original Publication Date: 8/22/01
    Daily News Writers

    Tenants of a city-owned building in Washington Heights say their homes are being invaded by a sickening combination of carbon monoxide, toxic mold, lead and sulfur dioxide. A lawyer who represents 38 tenants in the building intends to sue, argued that the city has an obligation to provide a safe environment for the people who live there. Instead, he said yesterday, his clients are suffering from asthma, headaches, memory problems, rashes, dizziness, headaches, nosebleeds , brain damage, and other problems. Another tenant complained that the stink in the building has been horrible all through the years. He has had pain in his throat and finds it hard to breathe. ... He keeps going to the doctor. His doctor can't find the reason for it.


    Original Publication Date: 9/10/01
    Daily News Staff Writer

    Ms. Marisol Vargas has been battling a Mold Complex in her Kips Bay apartment for years, and she's at her wit's end on how to banish the intruder. Like dozens of neighbors at the Henry Phipps Plaza housing complex, Vargas' home is under siege by  black, hairy mold. It has worked its way relentlessly through her kitchen and bathroom vents, and spread like a dark shadow under the paint on her bathroom ceiling. "It's everywhere," said Woods' niece, Jenelle Wilkins, 20. " It's just black mold. You can't scrub it away. You can't clean it up." Next-door neighbor Pearl Johnson, 58, said doctors had detected mold in her bloodstream.

    This mold is responsible for numerous family health problems, including her own memory loss and severe asthma in her four children, ages 10 to 16. Neighbors have suffered even worse. Just last week, Mattie Quaily, who also lives at Phipps, charged in a $65 million lawsuit that her daughter was killed by poisonous mold. Besides Quaily, at least four other families are suing over the alleged wrongful deaths of loved ones. "A lot of people are really getting sick. It's outrageous,"  Vargas said. In all, more than 150 families have sued the management of the 404-unit federally subsidized complex.

    The problem of toxic mold has gained nationwide attention lately, especially after a Texas jury awarded a family $32 million in damages in June. The family sued its insurance company for failing to repair water leaks that could have prevented the spread of molds, including one called stachybotrys, a type also found in the Phipps complex. According to court documents, there are nearly 500 tenants suing Phipps for damages exceeding $12 billion. In these court documents, the building's management has been accused of ignoring numerous pleas from tenants to stamp out the mold infestation. Court papers also charged that the management "did nothing to notify the plaintiffs of the danger that condition posed. Lawyers for Phipps have denied any wrongdoing and accused the plaintiffs of making "sweeping, ill-defined allegations," the court papers show. They also challenged claims that the mold is responsible for the tenants' health complaints, including headaches, nosebleeds, chronic fatigue, respiratory problems and, in the case of Quaily's daughter, Lorraine Woods, death at age 58 in October 1998.

    Experts say the clinical research on the toxic effects of molds like stachybotrys is not conclusive, but doctors are getting a growing number of complaints about mold-related health problems, especially among people with weakened immune systems.

    Original Publication Date: 10/7/01

    New York Times REAL ESTATE Writer
    ( Excerpts taken from an article appearing on Sunday, October 7, 2001, RE pg. 7 )

    Mold Spores Can Thrive in Many Places;
    Heating and Air-Conditioning Systems are especially Good Hosts.

    Mold can cause health problems that range from itching eyes, sneezing, and coughing to serious allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and even permanent lung damage. And what many people do NOT know is that mold could be growing in their homes right now.

    There are..." houses that are so neat and clean that not even a teacup is out of place"... "go into the basement and find mold growing on the legs of the furniture" .

    "...while mold in a house is most often found on walls, floors, ceilings, carpets, and fabrics exposed to moisture, one particularly troublesome hiding place is inside the ductwork and associated components of central forced-air heating and air-conditioning homeowners start up their central heating systems many find themselves suddenly coughing, wheezing, and sneezing."

    "...while mold needs moisture, oxygen, a food source and a surface on which to grow, a mold spore in search of a home can come by those essentials relatively easily, even inside a central heating system... such a system constantly circulates mold spores found naturally in the air through parts of the system that often have dust on their surfaces...Once a mold spore has embedded itself in that dust--which provides the nutrients it needs--all the spore needs is moisture. And that moisture...can come from condensation produced by the air-conditioning coil, from a faulty humidifier attached to the system, or even from high levels of humidity in the air itself".

    "...While it is possible for mold to grow in the ductwork of a central heating system , is more common to find it in the parts of the system that collect the most dust and have the greatest potential for becoming exposed to moisture : the air-conditioning coil and its fiberglass lining; and the cabinet that houses the blower fan...coil linings can be completely infiltrated by mold...and , when the heating system is turned on , the blower fan distributes mold spores throughout the house. Most people don't even know they have a problem until they start getting sick."

    "In most cases..., the only way to determine with certainty whether mold is growing inside a central heating system is to gain access to the coil, its lining, and the blower, and take a dust sample from the surface of the components... That sample must then be examined under a see whether there's actively growing mold in the dust."

    "The cost of an inspection can range from $200 to $1,000 or more, depending on scope and complexity".

    "If active mold is found in the heating system...the homeowner should hire a professional remediation expert--preferable one certified by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, a trade group based in Washington--to clean the furnace and ductwork. Its Web-site is ...make sure the whole system is cleaned thoroughly...a remediation expert should also clean the interior surfaces of the ductwork with a brush and H.E.P.A. vacuum".

    "If there does NOT appear that mold is actively growing in the heating system, but members of the household have reason to suspect there is mold elsewhere in the house...additional testing may be necessary".

    " most cases the most obvious indication of mold in a house is the presence of dark-colored spots on porous surfaces exposed to moisture. If no obvious signs of mold are visible..., it is possible that mold is growing inside a wall or ceiling. If you don't see the mold itself, look for signs of moisture...leaks from apartments or appliances on the floor above can saturate the wood, wallboard and insulation in walls and ceilings, creating an ideal incubator. Determining that mold exists in interior wall cavities...requires more work".

    "In most cases,...small amounts of visible mold on an exterior surface can be removed by scrubbing with a 5 or 10 percent solution of chlorine bleach in water".

    "...a mold clean-up can be costly !"

    Copyright © 2001 New York Times.

    Hidden Menace
    Insurers Worry About Toxic Mold Claims

    Original Media Posting Date: 06/26/01

    By John McKenzie
    ABC News Internet Ventures
    Copyright © 2001


    More and more homeowners are filing insurance claims and lawsuits over toxic mold, and insurance companies are worried the claims could overwhelm them. "The insurance companies thought the asbestos problem was enormous, and this is going to make that look small," said a public insurance adjuster. In Texas, several insurance companies have asked the state to allow them to drop mold coverage from homeowners' policies. Today, several hundred homeowners showed up at a public hearing on the issue held by the Texas Department of Insurance. Earlier this month, a Texas jury awarded $32 million to a woman for what mold did to her 22-room mansion and the mental anguish she went through. The insurer she sued, Farmers Insurance Group, was among the companies seeking relief from the state.

    Linked to Health Problems

    Toxic mold is in millions of homes and offices and schools across the United States. The term refers to various strains of mold that are blamed for an ever-expanding list of ailments, ranging from sinus infections and headaches, to chronic fatigue and even short-term memory loss. "We know these molds can do these things," said a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. "We know it from animal studies. We know it from clinical studies and occupational settings. "A 1999 Mayo Clinic study found that nearly 37 million Americans have chronic sinus problems because of mold. Mold usually grows in damp places: behind walls and under floors - wherever there are wet materials it can feed on. In sitting water, some molds can grow in just 24 hours.

    Drastic Measures

    Toxic mold has even forced people to desert their homes. In Eugene, Ore., the O'Hara family's home became so infested with mold that they asked the local fire department to burn it down. They figured that it would be cheaper to rebuild from scratch than try to eradicate the contamination. "We've got a lot of fond memories of it being our home," said Mark O'Hara. "Now it's just basically a house that poisoned my family". Doctors had attributed the family's nosebleeds and headaches to mold in their home.

    Copyright © 2001 ABC News Internet Ventures.



    Dear IAQ Onelist Subscribers,

         Recently, I received a call from Michelle Conlin, an editor at Business Week magazine concerning an article she is writing on "SICK BUILDINGS". She wanted information, especially interviews with people who had been injured on the job. I thought about all the people I have spoken with over the past few years- victims, researchers, scientists and hygenists- and then sent an e-mail to a few people, asking them to contact her if they were interested in responding. Later, as I thought about yet another article being written about "Sick Buildings" - I couldn't help wonder if it is all just "yadda, yadda"-going no where and changing nothing. Another general article about "this is a problem",or, "it is all in your head" piece which is becoming a sign of our times and NOT changing a thing. For instance, the parent in Nebraska who wrote us asking for assistance after her repeated attempts to work with the school district which were not productive. Why is it that there isn't one governmental agency she can call - just one -who can answer where responsibility lies for environmental conditions inside a building? It saddens me that after twenty plus years of research and information gathering, after numerous teachers leaving their profession from illness and disease and, after many various articles written by school administrators, teachers and IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) professionals - it is still the same old story. There is still no clean, clear-cut procedure to follow when IAQ problems surface in a school. Instead, there is action, reaction, coverup, name-calling, finger-pointing and other unprofessional and unproductive behaviors. School districts that have ignored the entire issue of maintenance, HVAC repair, roof leakage, etc. miraculously go from unenlightened to "proactive" overnight - at least in the newspaper. Parents, who are trying to actively work with the principal or school district are called names - over-reactive, hysterical, troublemakers- and, god forbid any teachers get involved and talk openly about their own health concerns or problems or ask that an IAQ committee be established. After a complaint is lodged, usually outside IAQ consultants are hired by the district who then control where and when and how sampling will be done. Their results are then the property of the district and parents are not allowed to meet in an open forum with the consultants to ask questions and raise issues unless the school district says so. Some are not allowed to see the report at all. I have a lot of problems with this system and I know I am not alone in this. Many IAQ consultants have stated that, when conducting testing, employees have approached them on the sly, wanting information, having concerns and yet, your hands are tied due to the ethics and loyalties of who contracted you regarding the testing. Some of these consultants are asked to conduct their testing after hours, or on the weekend so no one will suspect what is going on. When we've talked about how to change this system, some of you have voiced your concerns that many companies might forego testing at all, if they knew they would have to meet with employees and divulge the results. In fact, most of you have probably been put in the situation of knowing that employers are misrepresenting the results but your hands are tied by contract from correcting their misstatements. This must be particularly difficult, especially when the contamination is particularily bad and you have proof of employees dying from brain and breast cancers and other illnesses. The bottom line is - THIS SYSTEM ISN'T WORKING. It isn't working for many of you and it certainly isn't working for the employees. People are being lied to, their health is being compromised and somehow you need to find a way to change this - as professionals and we - the parents, victims and others - need to help you find a way. Having worked in a "Sick Building" where employees were systematically lied to for years about the IAQ problems, there needs to be consequences - not excuses. Public employers are by far the worst offenders because no one wants to take responsibility and be the bearer of bad news - especially when they have negligently allowed a perfectly good building to become contaminated by foregoing maintenance, or by allowing roof or other leaks to continue unabated. I don't know how to fix this situation and make it more open and equitable, but somehow we need to find a way. In the next few years we will be facing a teacher shortage, the likes of which we have never seen before in this country. Until things change, and there is a clear policy, or law or procedure laid out that guarantees parents and teachers that school IAQ and their concerns about it are being planned for, continuously monitored and open to review and suggestions for improvements - I would counsel teachers to walk away and pursue other careers. Today they are being cut out of the loop while administrators do an end run around them by hiring consultants and controlling information. Then, when a major problem occurs - they are "handled" like disgruntled employees or rabid, hysterical people-who won't cooperate.


    Barbara Herskovitz Moderator

    A Response to Ms. Herskovitz...

    Dear Ms. Herskovitz,

       I read your e-mail with great interest and concern; and sensed a great undercurrent of frustration and anguish regarding the lack of interest towards "SICK BUILDING SYNDROME" by professional facility managers. Although you live with these issues on a day-to-day, the actual issues of "SICK BUILDING SYNDROME" are relatively "new" to the facility industry such as 'indoor air quality' and 'multiple chemical sensivities'. Besides, implementation of these policies is NOT presently mandated by law (and is purely voluntarily); and most facility managers argue that no additional monies are being provided by management to institute programs of this kind which are perceived as being more expensive than existing ones. Please review history, Barbara....changing societal mindsets with imbedded "old values" takes time. Examine the progress in any major movement in this country...Civil Rights, Woman's Rights, etc. and you will see that it took 20, 30, 50 years before any actual change took place. Presently, we are fighting for "Indoor Environmental" or "Building Occupant" rights.

       The first step in making any change on an issue is public awareness and public education. Without awareness, the public at large will not support (or even understand) the concerns of an issued interest group. First, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING May 1999 issue and now, BUSINESS WEEK is a great sign that the mass media is opening its eyes to these issues. These mega- published magazines would not waste valuable editorial pages on issues that are non-controversial or of little interest to its readership. It supports the fact that the average citizen does NOT even know that these conditions exist, understand its concepts or implications on their own health. "Informing" and "Education" by any means is a fundamental step to "awareness" which is a precursor for any ACTION to occur. Believe it or not, magazine exposure with large circulations is a major accomplishment for fulfilling any objectives regarding these sensitive issues.

       And, things are changing.... As a result of the May, 1999 "GOOD HOUSEKEEPING" magazine's featured article entitled: "Sick Schools: Toxic buildings....Is your child safe?", seventeen (17) visionary New York ' Directors of School Facilities' have created and implemented a revolutionary "HEALTH AND SAFETY" cleaning program seeking "a better way" to maintain their buildings and benefit the welfare of the students within their districts. Presently, ALL participating school districts adopting this TOTAL "environmentally-preferable" cleaning program have removed minimally 8 "toxic" or "hazardous" substances from its cleaning operations or MORE; reduced 90 % of the different amounts of cleaning products used; created a NEW "Environmental Guardian" mindset for administrative, departmental, and custodial staffs towards their indoor work environments ( versus the conventional janitor or custodian labels ); and improved cleaning standards through a simpler, easy-to-understand, more practical cleaning program.

       As you have probably guessed, I have been involved from the beginning with developing this program here in New York. Now, you probably think that a proven, field-tested, cost effective "environmentally preferable" building cleaning program would be an easy sell. IT IS is one of the toughest challenges in my career so far. Most facility managers that I have interviewed agree that their # 1 responsibility is: "to provide the healthiest and safest indoor work environments for their building occupants". Philosophically, they truly understand where they are suppose to be regarding the political correctness of "SICK BUILDING SYNDROME". Unfortunately, their philosophical understanding is NOT in sync with their PRACTICAL approaches to their buildings YET. Here's the good news: there are approximately 244 school districts in the NEW YORK METROPOLITAN AREA, including the monstrous New York City Board of Education who are potential customers to this breakthrough cleaning program. We have already conquered 17 of them...only 227 to go. Also, a progressive Director of Facilities (see our JANUARY, 2000 issue: "Indoor Air Quality") has drafted and received school board approval on his school district's IAQ policy. Years ago, he did the same for his district's 'Integrated Pest Management' (IPM) policy. Subsequently, many facility directors statewide used his IPM policy as a reference to develop their own in their respective school districts. He anticipates that the same path will be journeyed with his IAQ policy.

       Additionally, information gathering and research means absolutely nothing except to those who do it and/or are interested in it (which is NOT most of us).

    Here is the way to make changes:

       1) Legislatively : Create neighborhood Political Action Committee (P.A.C.) whereby 10 concerned families and/or individuals in an area fund-raise or donate $100 (= $1000)-Personally, hand-deliver $250.00 donations to both major candidates of both political parties running for government state houses (assembly and senate) with a full explanation of the problem, its solution, and suggested legislation. Have members of your P.A.C. committee according to their political affiliations get involved with the candidates election or re-election efforts. All political campaigns run on money and volunteer help. Make sure the P.A.C. committee member gets to meet and know the candidate through this process. Re-acquaint the winning candidate with these issues AFTER the election. MONEY TALKS... EVERYTHING ELSE IS B.S. TO A POLITICIAN-EVEN GOOD INTENTIONS!!

       2) Union Involvement: Educate the leadership of the teacher, custodial, & local AFL/CIO unions regarding the impact of "Sick Building Syndrome" and the use of "toxic" and "hazardous" cleaning products has on its membership and their productivity. New Union contracts can demand improvements in some of these environmental issues.

       3) Encourage MORE constant media attention regarding these issues.

       In closing, no one parent or individual can take on an entire establishment. Remember: YOU CAN'T FIGHT CITY HALL! Many of us have tried...quite unsuccessfully. Without question, concerned individuals will be called "over- reactive, hysterical, and trouble-makers". Although these type of individuals are absolutely necessary to make change in society, they are also perceived as the unwelcomed "evils" into any business or school meeting . Unfortunately, Barbara, you can't beat the system. Even the leadership of the radical 60's knew that you had to join the system and change it from within. If YOU or anyone want to change a school system, run for school board and make this issue your major platform. You may not win...but everyone in that district will be aware of the issue by election time. I truly believe that patience, fortitude, and stubbornness will make the difference. Frustration and disillusionment only works against the true objectives of your cause. If I were the corporate and school opposition to remedying any of your "SICK BUILDING SYNDROME" concerns, I would have smiled after reading your letter. Their indifference and deaf ears are only wearing you down and they hope that you will disappear and go away. There is an old expression that "PATIENCE IS THE ANVIL OF THOUGHT". I believe that we just have to patiently outthink them and act positively towards our ideals each day.

    In summary, this complete "HEALTHY & SAFE" cleaning program represents the MOST sensible program today which delivers results and cost savings against ' toxic and hazardous' cleaning chemical concerns in the indoor work environment. Presently these professional school facility directors, in the best interests of their own job description, should be comparing and challenging any existing or potentially harmful environmental standards which may impact any child's indoor school work environment . Until recently, a more environmentally-practical, health-accountable, and cost-effective program to properly and professionally clean an entire school facility JUST DID NOT EXIST!! TODAY, alternative environmentally accountable and health oriented facility cleaning programs DO . Wherever implemented, school facility directors, custodial workers, principals, teachers, unions and parents have embraced this concept of a healthier and safer tomorrow.

          When interested, we accept the challenge to prove the health and safety benefits of our cleaning program to any school district, pre-school facility, or university in this country. Although, you would think that EVERYONE in school facilities would embrace programs of this type due to its common sense approach and political-correctness, most school facilities staffers still embrace the more toxic and hazardous products due to familiarity and custodial preference at the expense of the welfare of the children in their schools. We hope that these concerned professionals break with this tradition and provide us with the opportunity to demonstrate our viewpoint. REFERENCES FROM "USING" SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. We await your e-mail at : . Visit our web-site:

    Responding, somewhere in NEW YORK STATE to you...


    Clean safely,
    Lauri Halpern

    'HEALTHY CLEAN BUILDINGS'-located at 4 Wilmington Drive, Melville, New York 11747 (telephone: 631-643-1882; e-mail: -is dedicated to the elimination of existing, conventional "toxic" and "hazardous" cleaning chemicals in office, school and public buildings; and to advise homeowners accordingly about our widely recognized and accredited "HEALTHY & SAFE" Cleaning Program. This revolutionary cleaning system serves as an effective "environmentally-preferable" alternative to existing, conventional programs. Additionally, this program addresses controversial indoor environmental issues such as "Sick Building Syndrome"; "I.A.Q." (Indoor Air Quality); "Multiple Chemical Sensitivities" (MCS); allergic triggers; respiratory ailments, such as 'asthma'; and other similar ' building occupant' concerns.

    LAURI HALPERN, is President and sole owner of "HEALTHY CLEAN BUILDINGS" ®   -dedicated to "safe cleaning products that care". As a mother to two children, she pledges herself to the same high standards of quality and service associated with this 'healthier and safer' program concept. Her company- "HEALTHY CLEAN BUILDINGS" ®   -has become a mecca for cleaning information on 'Environmentally "GREEN" Alternatives to conventional cleaning products due to HER involvement and commitment to these concepts.

    STAN HALPERN, Lauri's husband, is an environmental cleaning consultant for over 28 years. He advises facility directors, professional cleaning contractors, homeowners,and 'do-it-yourselfers' with their cleaning problems each and every day. In fact, he is one of the few, if ONLY, maintenance supply executives, listed with his accomplishments in "WHO'S WHO IN THE WORLD". As an environmental cleaning consultant, he takes great pride in recommending responsible "environmentally-preferable" solutions to facility managers in commercial, school, and public buildings regarding the healthiest and safest ways to address cleaning and maintenance problems in their buildings.

    E-mail "Healthy Clean Buildings" at:

    Healthy Clean Buildings

    Copyright© 01/5/01 by Stan Halpern