Is Your Kid’s School Using Toxic Cleaning Products?

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Maryland’s “school green cleaning” law requires schools to buy less toxic cleaning supplies.

Many families are switching to less toxic cleaning products to improve indoor air quality and cut exposure to some nasty and untested chemical. Is your child’s school using toxic cleaners?  The answer is most likely. The good news is that with help from the Maryland Environmental Health Network (MdEHN), a recent Maryland ‘school green cleaning’ law is coming to fruition. Though it may seem simple to pass a law and swap out some cleaners, it’s not that easy. The devil’s in the details.

Chemicals found in everyday products are often untested and contain harsh chemicals that aggravate asthma and mess with our hormones. Once washed down the drain, these toxins evade water treatment plants and flow into our waterways.

Maryland’s Green Product and Supplies Cleaning law is simple: Each county board of education is required to buy less toxic cleaners from approved vendors. But, as MdEHN’s Allison Rich found out, “Every district, county, and even school has a different group or person heading the purchasing of cleaning products. It’s not centralized, and it’s been tough to get the message out.”

MdEHN is a Baltimore-based non-profit that focuses on addressing the negative health impacts from environmental threats and toxic chemicals. Check out their excellent assessment and progress reports which help our elected officials and policymakers craft better legislation and policies for our kiddos.

Coordinating with Maryland State Department of Education and the national group Healthy Schools Network, MdEHN will be hosting the state’s first K-12 peer-to-peer green cleaning training. Financial support was provided by the EPA. The training event will be held November 20, 2015. Email Allison Rich ([email protected]) for details. Rich explains, “We see ourselves as a compassionate watchdog, and we’re all working together to help provide a clean and safe school environment for our state’s children.”

Laurel Peltier
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Laurel Peltier

Laurel writes the environmental GreenLaurel column every other Thursday in the Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of UVA's MBA program, she spends her time with her family and making "all things green" interesting.
Laurel Peltier
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