What Makes Green Cleaning So Important?
Science has proven that some chemicals don’t go away, giving rise to the issues of accumulation and cumulative effects of cleaning compounds and the potential for harm that can be caused - not just for average healthy occupants, but also for those with vulnerabilities, such as children, pregnant women, occupants with compromised immune systems, the elderly and those with other pre-existing health conditions or sensitivities. Properly selecting and using green cleaning products can help safeguard the health and safety of building occupants.
Also important is the impact on personnel of Contents Departments of restoration companies who have long-term exposure to high concentrations of chemical cleaning products and the fact that far too many cleaning professionals do not use the appropriate personal protective equipment and may not be provided with adequate ventilation. This exposure can sometimes lead to serious chronic illnesses such as cancer, and neurological or reproductive disorders.
Some traditional products are known to contribute to health problems such as eye, skin and respiratory irritation as well as asthma and other allergic reactions, which can lead to occupant complaints and hurt attendance and productivity. Replacing these products with those that reduce the potential for harm has numerous advantages and is likely less costly than increasing the supply of fresh air or general ventilation rates.
Why Go Green?
Green cleaning is catching on quickly. Envirowise Solutions makes implementation easier by identifying the chemicals and other products to make green cleaning cost-effective and it is increasingly being recognized as a no-brainer strategy for facilities concentrating on environmental goals. What makes green cleaning so important?
One crucial factor is the potential harm that can be caused by traditional cleaning chemicals. It’s important to understand the science behind cleaning, and how the chemicals in products can affect human health. That science should inform all decisions about cleaning programs. Properly selecting and using green cleaning products can help safeguard the health and safety of building occupants and the planet.
To minimize risks, it is important to understand how toxins can enter the body. These routes of exposure include ingestion, inhalation and dermal exposure.
People may ingest contaminants found in drinking water, foods and beverages, and from residues of cleaning products on food preparation surfaces, as well as from poorly cleaned hands.
Another route of exposure is inhalation. According to EPA, indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels. Levels of indoor air pollutants may be of particular concern because most people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors.
Poor air quality may come from exterior sources like ozone, radon and automobile exhaust, but also from sources generated within buildings. For example, cleaners dispensed from aerosol cans, fragrances used in products that mask odours and solvents found in polishes all contain ingredients that can have a negative health impact when inhaled. As these chemicals pass from the lungs into the blood stream, they affect the nervous system and other major organs. This can result in symptoms including dizziness, respiratory distress, trigger asthma and more.
The final route of exposure is absorption through the skin. For example, 2-butoxyethanol, which is common in many traditional cleaners and degreasers is readily absorbed through the skin and can be toxic to the reproductive system and other major body organs.