Advertisement

Putting the Cart Before the Horse – Sustainability & Health

Or why “Cleaning for People” (CFP) matters

Last month, we discussed two of the “Three Ps” of Sustainability — Planet & Profit — but a prime purpose in cleaning inside built environments is to “keep on” doing it without harm to People, the third P, and the one closest to home and affecting us “where we live.”

Some call it Health Intentional Cleaning, Cleaning for Health, and Renewable Cleaning, or Cleaning for People (CFP).

Q: But aren’t cleaning chemicals only present in small amounts and — since the “dose makes the poison” — basically harmless?

A: They are present in small amounts but the “dose makes the poison” argument is no longer strictly true since we now know, that in many cases, the little things are the big things in human health.

For example, hormones are found in parts per trillion in our body, and many chemicals mimic these; so, yes, tiny amounts of endocrine or hormone disrupting stuff matters.Clean for health and appearance will follow

You can’t see VOCs, viruses, bacteria, or endocrine or hormone disrupters — but they WILL affect your health if your “cleaning” program leaves them behind due to poor process, chemical warfare, and other sins of traditional “cleaning.”

This type of “cleaning” is the worst form of putting the cart before the horse, because sooner or later it makes people sick, and sick people cannot clean buildings or work in them very well — or long.

Then there are the custodians, staff and children in schools. Children can’t learn if they are sick or absent from school (note that K-12 schools cite asthma as the leading chronic cause of absenteeism among students).

Also, in true “cart-before-the-horse” irony, healthcare environments have been studied for “unhealthy” cleaning practices leading to respiratory and other issues among cleaning workers.

In the 2009 healthcare study Characterization of Occupational Exposures to Cleaning Products Used for Common Cleaning Tasks — downloaded from Harvard University’s DASH repository — researchers noted: “cleaning has been identified as an occupational risk because of an increased incidence of reported respiratory effects, such as asthma and asthma-like symptoms among cleaning workers …”

They further found “cleaning products used for common cleaning tasks were mixtures of many chemicals, including respiratory and dermal irritants and sensitizers. Examples of ingredients of concern include quaternary ammonium compounds, 2-butoxyethanol, and ethanolamines.”

They added: “Cleaning workers are at risk of acute and chronic inhalation exposures to volatile organic compounds (VOC) vapors and aerosols generated from product spraying, and dermal exposures mostly through hands…”

They concluded: “Cleaning products are mixtures of many chemical ingredients that may impact workers’ health through air and dermal exposures. Because cleaning exposures are a function of product formulations and product application procedures, a combination of product evaluation with workplace exposure assessment is critical in developing strategies for protecting workers from cleaning hazards.”

In other words, change your process, practice Health Intentional Cleaning, Renewable Cleaning, and Cleaning for People(CFP). What could make more sense?

For more information about Health Intentional Cleaning visit https://www.healthintentionalcleaning.org.

This special online series and its articles are sponsored by Advanced Vapor Technologies, LLC.

           
Posted On August 9, 2013

Allen Rathey

Principal of Winning Environments, LLC

Allen P. Rathey is an educator specializing in healthy facilities, and provides advisory and consulting support. He is past-president of The Housekeeping Channel (HC), The Healthy House Institute (HHI), and The Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI). He is the principal of Winning Environments, LLC, promoting best practices that enhance the living environment. Email [email protected] for more information.

Topics
 

Also in Health and Safety

The Faces of Healthcare and Hospitality
June 19, 2024

The Faces of Healthcare and Hospitality

June 3, 2024 Robert Kravitz

Worker Safety Is Not a Given

May 31, 2024 Jennifer Brumfield

Summertime Is Pest Prevention Time

May 14, 2024 Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner

A Primer on Healthy Cleaning Chemicals

Sponsored in Health and Safety

TRUCE software
November 3, 2023 Sponsored by TRUCE Software

Safety: The Dirty Secret of the Cleaning & Maintenance Industries

July 17, 2023 Sponsored by PDI

Core Concepts of Disinfection

July 21, 2022

Video: Hand Hygiene and Understanding Hand Sanitizers

December 15, 2021

CMM Webinar: Enhancing Facility Image—Beyond Appearances

Recent News

ISSA Hosts Successful 2024 Business Growth Strategies Conference

ISSA Hosts Successful 2024 Business Growth Strategies Conference

Rare Drug-Resistant Flu Variant Detected in U.S.

Registration Opens For ISSA Show North America 2024

Antibacterial R&D Pipeline Growing

Putting the Cart Before the Horse – Sustainability & Health
Share Article
Subscribe to CMM