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EPA Honors All Around

From Our Monthly DestinationGreen Newsletter

he Environmental Protection Agency has just recognized The Ashkin Group as an outstanding Safer Choice Supporter for 2017.

We received this award in Washington, DC., and according to the EPA that runs the Safer Choice Program, we were honored because of our help promoting the value of the program and our efforts in encouraging full ingredient disclosure on product labeling.

This is our second year receiving this award.

In 2016, we were recognized for our efforts to bring Green disinfectants to the market; for recommending the use of Safer Choice-certified products in the Green Sports Alliance’s Green Cleaning in Sports Facilities workshops; and for highlighting the benefits of the Safer Choice program in over two dozen presentations and webinars throughout North America.

Everyone on the Ashkin Group team thanks the EPA for this award. And we would also like to honor the EPA.

While many honorable people and worthy organizations have questioned some of the actions the EPA has taken over the years, we should not forget the many good things the organization has accomplished since its inception in 1970.

During the EPA’s formative years, it was finding its footing and focused primarily on creating policies regarding environmental issues. But that all changed when the New York Times ran the following front-page story in August 1978:

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y.–Twenty-five years after the Hooker Chemical Company stopped using the Love Canal here as an industrial dump, 82 different compounds, 11 of them suspected carcinogens, have been percolating upward through the soil, their drum containers rotting and leaching their contents into the backyards and basements of 100 homes and a public school built on the banks of the canal.
This was a key turning point for the agency. It investigated the situation, conducted testing, and helped secure federal funds to assist with the hazardous cleanup. The agency also took steps to help make sure that something like this never occurred again.
In addition to these efforts, the EPA should also be credited with accomplishing the following over the past 47 years:

Protecting the ozone layer: Back in the early 1980s, reports started coming out that pollution, most of it human-made, was causing parts of the atmosphere to disintegrate. The goal of the EPA at that time was to educate the American people about what was happening, and it appears the agency was successful.

President Ronald Reagan listened to the reports and, to the surprise of many, backed the Montreal Protocol, an agreement signed by 197 countries to ban the use of chlorofluorocarbons, which are used in air conditioning systems and aerosol sprays and can be harmful to the ozone layer.

 Raising concerns about lead: In 1985, the EPA released a study that estimated at least 5,000 people die each year from lead-related diseases. The agency had already banned the use of lead in paint, but as more information unfolded about how lead negatively impacts health and even the learning capabilities of children, the EPA set out to ban the use of lead wherever feasible. The agency’s efforts proved successful. By 2002, a study revealed that the level of lead in young children’s blood fell by 80 percent from 1976 to the late 1990s.

Ensuring healthier air: In March 2015, the University of Southern California (USC) released an encouraging study. After studying Southern Californian children aged 11 to 15 over a 20-year period, researchers discovered that today’s children have larger and better functioning lungs than children who grew up in the same communities in the 1990s. According to the study:

Air quality in the Los Angeles basin, as measured in five cities by USC researchers, improved over two decades. That provided a healthy environment for children’s growing lungs. This happened [because] of EPA efforts to crack down on smog in the 1970s and 1980s in Southern California.

Today, the EPA is focused on a variety of environmental issues including climate change. It is hoped that the EPA will be able to keep educating Americans about these challenges and protect our health and the health of our planet.

Until next month…

With me in the image are Wendy Cleland-Hamnett

Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety & Pollution Prevention


David Widawsky,Chemistry, Economics, & Sustainable Strategies Division

From Cleanlink News: Report Focuses On Student Health, Wellness, and the First 100 Days

From Cleanlink News May 3, 2017:

To showcase what changes have been made in the first 100 days of the Trump administration, Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) has released, “100 Day Report: The Trump Administration’s Actions on Student Health and Wellness.”

This report follows HSC’s October 2016 report, “Healthy and Ready to Learn: Recommendations for the Next Administration.” The 2016 piece broke down suggested actions for the administration, including how green cleaning can support health and learning.

The new report provides an overview of actions taken, or proposals made by the Trump administration, and the potential impact on school health and student wellness in four key areas:

• Healthy and Green Schools: Ensuring schools are able to support student health and learning while preserving the environment.

• School Health Services: Ensuring all students have access to the physical and behavioral health services they need to be in school and ready to learn.

• Department of Education and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Ensuring the Department of Education is able to support schools, particularly through implementation of ESSA, in a way that supports student health and wellness.

• Healthy School Food: Ensuring all students have access to healthy and nutritious school meals by fully implementing the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

Click here to read this full report.

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Making Cleaning Contractors Green Leaders

Let’s use scenario to illustrate how cleaning contractors can be Green leaders. You are bidding on the cleaning needs of a multistory, multitenant office building. While management did require the use of Green Cleaning products in the past, it is now open to the use of traditional cleaning products, especially if there is a cost incentive to switch.

And as many cleaning contractors know, the bidding process is changing. The days of just dropping off a bid and waiting for a phone call from a building manager saying “you’re hired” are fast disappearing.

What’s happening now is managers are looking for a contractor that does not just clean their facilities but will partner with them, working together to keep their facility clean and healthy and to reduce costs where possible.

To assist in finding such a contractor partner, many managers now ask those bidding on the cleaning needs of their facility not only to submit a bid or respond to a request for proposal but also to make a presentation to the manager, his or her staff, and any other stakeholders involved in the operation of the facility.

Typically, the top three to five cleaning contractors in the running will be asked to deliver such a presentation. And it is in this presentation that you can use your leadership in Green and sustainability issues to make a case for Green Cleaning. Your presentation should include an informal talk to the management staff along with a slide presentation to complement the talk.

In the slide presentation, you can include more information about the benefits of Green Cleaning, such as the following:

Reduces asthma attacks. An estimated 12 percent of all work-related asthma problems are due to the cleaning products used. Green Cleaning products help reduce or eliminate asthma attacks. Studies, specifically those done in schools, have shown that when traditional cleaning products are replaced with Green Cleaning alternatives, asthma and other respiratory problems decrease, often significantly.

Safer for cleaning workers. More than a third of conventional cleaning products can cause skin and eye damage. Green Cleaning products are safer for cleaning workers. When used properly, there is less chance for injuries to the eye and skin with Green Cleaning products, helping to protect workers on the job.

Helping schools and school children. Green cleaning programs are proving to be very effective. According to a 2014 report by the U.S. Green Building Council, “A typical green school saves $100,000 per year on operating costs, enough to hire at least one new teacher, buy 200 new computers, or purchase 5,000 textbooks” when a Green Cleaning program is implemented.

And in the report, “Greening America’s Schools: Costs and Benefits,” author Gregory Kats concludes,” a 3-5 percent improvement in learning ability and test scores was reported in Green schools, and it is believed this was a conservative estimate.

Reduces chemical exposure. While most of us are exposed to cleaning chemicals only an hour or two a week at most, a cleaning worker or housekeeper may be exposed to them for eight hours or more every day. One San Francisco hotel decided to “go Green” mainly for this reason.

“These are products housekeepers constantly use, every day they work,” said the hotel manager. “That’s much more exposure than someone who periodically spends an hour cleaning his or her home. Therefore, I am certain that reduced exposure to harsh chemicals can be a real benefit to those who use them every day they work.”**


May 2017
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