Children and toxic chemicals don’t mix. With the sheer numbers of children in class rooms, cafeterias, and gyms, many custodial services are overwhelmed with cleaning and maintenance problems. The growing dangers of superbug and flu strains post a challenge to schools and families, as well, and schools are the perfect breeding ground for these germs.
Unfortunately, most custodial companies use “industrial strength” cleaners that throw off toxic fumes into the air. Children can be affected by these toxic cleaners through inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion. The side effects are many, with some of the most serious being headaches, nausea, and the worsening of asthma conditions.
Here are some signs that your child may be suffering from poor air quality at school:
1. Your child starts the day healthy, but develops a headache or nausea during the school day.
2. Your child comes home from school angry, itchy, tired, or sick.
3. Your child uses more asthma medication during the school day.
4. Your child comes home with odd odors on his or her clothing.
Here are some tips to follow if you are a school administrator or custodian:
Reduce Grime and Dirt
1. Wet mop instead of using a dry broom. This reduces dust.
2. Ban carpets and rugs, use only hard surfaces for flooring and walls.
3. Ban the use of cleaning chemicals brought from home.
4. Keep garbage cans away from fresh air intakes.
5. Place “walk-off” mats at each entrance to decrease dirt from shoes.
Purchase Safer Cleaning Products
1. Make sure your cleaning products have been green by independent third parties. Many companies make invalid claims about the safety of their products.
2. Choose products with the lowest possible hazard rating on their Material Safety Data Sheet.
3. Avoid products with fragrances, odors, and dyes, as they can be irritating.
If you are a school administrator who is looking for ways to make your building safer, there are many resources for you.
Green Seal at www.greenseal.org.
Environmental Choice Program at www.environmentalchoice.org for green rated products.
The maintenance professionals at Landrum’s Services provides solutions to schools in Indiana, and we are available to answer any of your questions. Call us at 317.228.0780 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.