One of the new ways schools are looking to combat SBS (Sick Building Syndrome) is with green cleaning janitorial supplies and products.
Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a condition used to describe the symptoms that one may experience due to the poor indoor air quality in a building. SBS is found in many different types of buildings including factories, offices, businesses, stores, hospitals, or schools. There are times that this situation is found to be localized in a small section of the building and other times it is widespread and attributed to the entire building. This can be attributed to not using green janitorial supplies or cleaning products.
Although SBS has often been associated with commercial office environments, one area of particular concern is our schools. In general schools are four times as densely occupied as commercial office spaces; furthermore children are not known for neatness. Many of our schools have grown to become centers of community that are used for evening and weekend programs as well. Bottom line: today schools have more users for more hours than ever before.
Government statistics show that 20% of schools experience problems due to poor air quality that is 1 out of every 5 schools (which in turn represents 8.4 million students)!When industrial strength cleaning chemicals and room deodorizers some schools use and no green commercial cleaners are used, indoor air pollution issues are increased. Recently several studies link asthma symptoms with exposure to cleaning chemicals. As a result more children have asthma and allergies than ever before. These are the leading cause of school absenteeism. (The Center for Disease Control estimates 9 million children or one out of 13 under 18 years of age receives an asthma diagnosis at some time.)
Poor indoor air quality can cause acute health symptoms leading to absenteeism. Additionally statistics demonstrate that poor indoor air quality can reduce a person’s ability to perform specific mental tasks requiring concentration, calculation, or memory. Research suggests that students cannot concentrate as well, and report more health symptoms. Evidence suggests that individuals who experience two symptoms of discomfort perceive a reduction in their own performance. That perception increases as the number of symptoms increases, averaging a 3% loss in performance with three symptoms, and an 8% loss with five symptoms. In other studies, people experienced decreased performance in arithmetic, logical reasoning, memory, and creative thinking tasks when exposed to a pollutant source. They also reported more headaches during tasks requiring concentration, suggesting that part of the effect on performance is from pollution-related adverse health symptoms.
Additionally the statistics associated the absenteeism and associated costs on student, teacher, and staff health and performance is huge. In one case, a school in Houston had nine teachers and seven janitors visiting the local emergency room due to difficulty in breathing and irritated eyes. This only drives the desire to increase the use of green janitorial cleaning supplies and products higher.
There are organizations such as Healthy Schools Campaign, Green Cleaning Network, EPA Indoor Environment Division, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning (ASRAE) and Healthy Legacy that are all independent not-for-profit entities who are dedicated to increasing awareness and affecting change in our practices to protect health without harming the environment. These organizations recognize that green cleaning in schools is important to:
- Help students stay healthy and able to learn;
- Protect the health of teachers and custodial staff;
- Increase the lifespan of facilities; and
- Preserving the environment.
Schools around the US increasingly switch to green cleaning products in efforts to protect student and staff health. Nearly 40% of our states have some type of green cleaning policy, either legislative initiative or administrative rule encouraging environmentally preferable purchasing or green cleaning!
The movement’s increasing momentum during times of economic hardship for school districts and cleaning companies underscores the practical, cost effective, and critical nature of green cleaning. wowgreen is among the best green janitorial cleaning products available for schools and other public buildings.