Green Cleaning Comes to New York

By Cynthia Blayer
Linewaiters' Gazette, 9/14/2006

We rely on cleaning products to keep us safe from dirt and germs. In recent years, it has come to light that many standard cleansers contain ingredients that are actually harmful to us. Although they take away dirt and germs, these cleansers can leave toxic residues on surfaces as well as release them into the air. Green or ecological cleansers, which don't contain harmful ingredients, give us a safer, healthier alternative. Increased interest in these green cleansers has lead to some positive changes in New York State policy.

Manufacturers of cleansers are not required to list all ingredients on the labels of their products, so they are not readily apparent to the average consumer. The popular cleansers Fantastik and Windex both contain butyl cellusolve, which is neurotoxic. Many common cleansers contain asthmagens, which are ingredients that can cause asthmatic reactions. A 2001 study reported in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that janitorial workers have twice the rate of respiratory health problems as other workers.

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