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Green Cleaners Defined

Green cleaning simply means cleaning without compromising the health and safety of people and our environment.

In September of 1998 the federal government (and then President Bill Clinton) signed into effect Executive Order 13101 - Greening the Government Through Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition. In this order the federal government has defined green cleaning, or more accurately "Environmentally preferable" as 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 is available here in pdf format

Learn about the different standards for a product to be considered "green"

Why Green Cleaning?

Many common household and industrial cleaners contain chemicals that can have dangerous health effects. These chemicals can cause cancer, irritation of the eyes, skin and lungs, interfere with the normal functioning of organs, or even effect the reproductive system. Studies indicate that most Americans have common household cleaning chemicals in their blood and urine.1 The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has determined that more than 150 chemicals found in ordinary household products are directly responsible for producing cancer, allergies, birth defect, and numerous psychological disorders.


Green Cleaning and the Environment
Many cleaners contain toxic ingredients that are not adequately tested for their environmental impact. Chemicals in household products break down slowly in the ecosystem and can lead to harmful algea blooms and accumulation of toxins in the fatty tissues of fish and wildlife. Nationwide countless pounds of household and janitorial cleaning products are poured down the drain every day. From there, these products travel to a sewage treatment facility, and are treated. Unfortunately many of these chemicals are not entirely removed and find their way into drinking water, lakes & rivers. Sewage treatment plants concentrate waste into a solid called "sludge", which is then used on agricultural land, disposed of in landfills, or incinerated. When it rains, water penetrates the soil at landfill sites, picking up contaminants along the way, moving them deeper into the soil where they eventually contaminante the groundwater. This contaminated groundwater is, in some cases, your municipal water source.
Find a hazardous waste or recycle center in your area.

Green Cleaning can:

  •  Help decrease air & water pollution
  •  Eliminate hazardous products from your home & office
  •  Enhance the health of your family, co-workers & our environment
  •  Keep packaging materials out of landfills
  •  Drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  •  Help save a substantial amount of money, energy and natural resources
  •  Improve the indoor air quality in homes and businesses
  •  Learn how going green can help protect our environment both inside and out.

1INFORM, "Cleaning for Home Health" May 2005, available at:http://informinc.org/homehel.pdf


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