Children, teachers, and school staff in Illinois will soon breathe a little easier during the school dayâ€”and the rest of the nation may not be far behind.
With a 52-5 vote in the Senate in May 2007, Illinois became the second state in the nation to enact legislation requiring green cleaning in schools.
"Illinois is becoming a national leader in providing healthy learning environments for our children,â€ said Mark Bishop, HSC's deputy director. "This simple step goes miles in protecting the health of everyone in the school building. It's an important milestone for Illinois, and it's simply the right thing to do."
Similar legislation was enacted in New York in 2006, and stakeholders report that the transition to mandatory green cleaning has been a smooth one. (See our recent article for more information on the transition to green cleaning in N.Y.)
Legislators in other states â€“ including Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Washington â€“ are considering bills that would require green cleaning in schools.
The movement toward green cleaning is also gaining steam at a local level.
In Pittsburgh Public Schools, for example, the plant operations department established a policy to use only environmentally preferable cleaning products in schools.
"Iâ€™ve seen the negative health effects of traditional cleaning chemicals first-hand, and I can tell you there's a better way," said Bill Thompson, director of facilities at Lockport Township High School in Illinois. Thompson began implementing a green cleaning program three years ago to protect the health of cleaning staff, and now sees benefits in student attendance as well as cost savings for his school. "Green cleaning is the right thing to do, not only for children but for the custodial staff who work with the chemicals."