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Toxic Products Hidden Harms in the Classroom P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o 703-237-2249 |f 703-237-8389 | www.chej.org.

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Presentation on theme: "Toxic Products Hidden Harms in the Classroom P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o 703-237-2249 |f 703-237-8389 | www.chej.org."— Presentation transcript:

1 Toxic Products Hidden Harms in the Classroom P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

2 Why Is Examining The Products You Use Important?  Commonly used products have adverse health effects, particularly for children  These products also have adverse effects for the environment  Worker health matters-both that of your custodians and those who produce the chemicals  There are safer, cost effective alternatives P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

3 Why Children are More Vulnerable To Toxins Hand-to-mouth behavior and playing close to the ground Heavier exposures to environmental toxins, pound for pound, compared to adults Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in NYC found Developmental processes can be easily disrupted— “Early windows of great vulnerability” Many hours spent in school with air that is often 2-5x more contaminated than outdoor air (US EPA) “Overall evidence strongly suggests that a poor environment in schools, due primarily to effects of indoor pollutants, adversely influences the health, performance, and attendance of students” – US Department of Education report, 2004

4 If We Can Buy It, It Must Be Safe, Right? No! Products Have Unlisted Ingredients and Unknown Dangers According to US EPA, of the 2,863 most commonly used chemicals only 7% have complete toxicity data and 43% have NO toxicity information available 1 of every 3 cleaning chemicals used in schools causes environmental or health problems (Center for a New American Dream) P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

5 INFORM Found That Of 250 Common Janitorial Products… 7% Should not be used Severe environmental and health threats 56% Require extreme care Blindness, severe skin damage, absorption through skin to internal organs 37% Require routine care Temporary irritation, harmful ingredients P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

6 High Risk Ingredients (Department of Interior) Acids Hydrochloric Acid Phosphoric Acid Blindness Damages Skin Caustics Sodium Hydroxide Sodium Metasilicate Potassium Hydroxide Blindness Damages Skin Severe irritant Solvents Perchloroethylene Butoxyethanol Ethanolamine Toluene HCFC-141 Cancer Poison (absorbs through skin, poisons liver and kidney) Depletes Ozone Layer Surfactants Alkyl phenol ethoxylates Endocrine Disruption Disinfectants Sodium hypochlorite Paradichlorobenzene Quaternary Ammonium Chloride Corrosive and Reactive Cancer Corrosive and CNS Depressant P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

7 Volatile Organic Compounds Acute Problems: Nose and Throat Discomfort, headache, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue Chronic Problems: Cancer, Damage to Organs and Central Nervous System Cleaning products are responsible for approximately eight percent of total non- vehicular emissions of VOCs (Green Seal). A Simple Way to Understand: Off-Gassing P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

8 1,4 dichlorobenzene (1,4 DCB) Likely carcinogen (Dept. of Health and Human Services) New research links it to reduced lung function (Nat’l Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) In this study 96% of a group of 953 people had concentrations in their blood Found in toilet bowel cleaners, air fresheners, paint, and other deodorizers P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

9 Cleaning Products as Asthma Triggers Nationwide 1 in 13 children have asthma, and a study at UMDNJ found that 1 in 8 children in New Jersey have it. Asthma is the primary factor for school absenteeism and hospital admission among chronic conditions. Janitorial workers experience the highest rates of occupational asthma, twice the rate for other workers (Study in American Journal of Industrial Medicine) An article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that in four states—California, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey —12 percent of work-related asthma cases were associated with exposure to cleaning products, and 80 percent of those were new onset cases Even short-term exposure to cleaning agents caused asthmatic attacks (A Study in the European Respiratory Journal) P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

10 The Most Toxic Cleaners Acid Toilet Bowl Cleaner Carpet Spotter All-purpose Cleaner Floor Finish Stripper Baseboard Stripper Graffiti Remover Disinfectant P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

11 Paint When the EPA tested the indoor air quality after a fresh paint application, it was found that VOC levels were 1000 times higher than outside Petroleum-based (oil/alkyl) paints can contain up to 60% VOCs Water-based paints have less VOCs but no law on VOC content! Contain biocides Both Latex and Oil Based Paint can contain: heavy metals Carcinogenic (Nat’l Toxicology Program) solvents phthalates Developmental and Reproductive toxin (NIEHS) formaldehyde Nose and throat cancer, menstrual disorders (Nat’l Toxicology Program) other carcinogenic compounds P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

12 Environmental Impacts Aquatic Toxicity Eutrophication Bioaccumulative and Persistent Chemicals Smog precursors Ozone Depleters Non-renewable resources Certain chemicals from common school products are found in fish bile, surface waters and breast milk P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

13 Your Right-to-Know About Toxins MSDS: Material Safety Data Sheets P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

14 Let’s Examine One MSDS Sheet 3.2 POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS Eye Contact: Corrosive (Eye Burns): Signs/symptoms may include cloudy appearance of the cornea, chemical burns, severe pain, tearing, ulcerations, significantly impaired vision or complete loss of vision. Skin Contact: Severe Skin Irritation: Signs/symptoms may include localized redness, swelling, itching, dryness, cracking, blistering, and pain. Allergic Skin Reaction (non-photo induced): Signs/symptoms may include redness, swelling, blistering, and itching. Inhalation: Respiratory Tract Irritation: Signs/symptoms may include cough, sneezing, nasal discharge, headache, hoarseness, and nose and throat pain. May be absorbed following inhalation and cause target organ effects. Ingestion: Gastrointestinal Irritation: Signs/symptoms may include abdominal pain, stomach upset, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. May be absorbed following ingestion and cause target organ effects. P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

15 What is It??? A well-known brand name! 3M Brand All Purpose Cleaner & Degreaser P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

16 In Summary… You need to proactively examine the products you use Many conventional products used in schools are linked to cancer, asthma, respiratory problems, various organ problems, and severe irritation of the skin These products are contaminating the indoor air that every child, teacher and staff person is breathing in nearly 9 hours a day The environment is also feeling the effects of these toxins in the water, land and air P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

17 If We Have a Choice, Why Create A Toxic Legacy? Photo courtesy of The International POPs Elimination Network P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

18 Alternatives Do Exist! Green Seal Products GS-37 Standard for Industrial and Institutional Cleaners. This standard deals with general-purpose, bathroom, and glass cleaners, as well as paint that are used in offices, institutions, warehouses, and industrial facilities. P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

19 Green Seal Certifies… No carcinogens Not corrosive Non-Toxic to humans and aquatic life Low VOCs, phosphorus and phthalate content Free of ozone depleters, heavy metals and other harmful chemicals Recyclable packaging Animal testing is discouraged Provided in a concentrate Biodegradable More environmentally friendly packaging P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

20 3M All Purpose Cleaner/Degreaser EcoPure Neutral Multi-Use Cleaner/Degreaser Inhalation: Respiratory Tract Irritation: Signs/symptoms may include cough, sneezing, nasal discharge, headache, hoarseness, and nose and throat pain. May be absorbed following inhalation and cause target organ effects. Inhalation: Hazardous inhalation is not applicable, but may cause slight irritation Target Organ Effects: Central Nervous System (CNS) Depression Health Effects: No carcinogens, no targeted organ effects Skin Contact: Severe Skin Irritation: Signs/symptoms may include localized redness, swelling, itching, dryness, cracking, blistering, and pain. Skin contact: Incidental skin contact is not expected to cause any significant irritation. Traditional Green Seal P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

21 Aren’t Green Cleaners More Expensive? NO! Many are competitively priced, and if not, there are easy ways to keep costs down… Talk with current vendors to see options within your current purchasing system Creative ideas—collaborative purchasing, competitive bidding P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

22 Recognition of Green Cleaning by Governments Law in New York state making use of green cleaners mandatory in public buildings and schools 1 All of NJ’s state properties and authorities are now required to purchase and utilize green cleaning products (Executive Order #76, Governor Codey, 2006) 2 P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

23 Step 1: Understanding the Hazards in Your School Create an inventory of all products in use and complete walk-through checklist Retrieve MSDS data sheets on all those products Identify the hazards according to the data sheets and through company contact P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

24 Step 2: Take Action Talk with your suppliers and test other suppliers to find cost-effective green cleaning Test products if you wish, then purchase! Create guidelines for green cleaning at your school Incorporate those guidelines into a school policy or resolution to institute green cleaning for the future P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

25 Step 3: Learn Your New Products Understand benefits of the product What is the most effective way to use them? Do you need to clean differently with the less toxic products? Dialogue with the vendor about product P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

26 General Rules of Thumb Choose and use disinfectants wisely  Antibacterial products do not produce a "cleaner" clean. Regular soap removes dirt and bacteria, while and a disinfectant renders a surface sterile.  These harsher products can be bad for septic systems, and human health P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

27 General Rules of Thumb Choose products that disclose specific information on ingredients and environmental claims Ingredients to Avoid: Corrosives Chlorine Bleach Ammonia Phosphates Petroleum Products Fragrances P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

28 Success Stories "Our two main concerns, as we explored going green were: do the products work as well as traditional products and what about the additional cost? [The certified products] proved to us that the chemicals work just as good or better than traditional cleaning products and we are not spending any more money to be 'green'.” Michael Rinderknecht Business Administrator Glen Rock Board of Education, Bergen County, NJ P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

29 You Did It! Publicize accomplishments in newsletters, local papers, letters home to parents End of year report P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

30 Further Resources P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

31 Change Follows Understanding “If the earth were your body, you would be able to feel the many places where it is suffering. Every day, children and adults die because of the pollution of air and water. These things are related.” - Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist Monk P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |

32 Questions? P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA | o |f |


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