Are Your “Green” Cleaning Chemicals Really Green?
Are you familiar with the GREENGUARD Certification mark? If indoor air quality (IAQ) is a priority at your facility, you’ll want to know it well! This article highlights the importance of IAQ, how your cleaning chemicals affect IAQ, and how GREENGUARD can help you choose chemicals that promote healthy IAQ.
Why Your Indoor Air Quality Matters
Because there are two to five times more pollutants indoors as there are outdoors (according to the Environmental Protection Agency). IAQ is a growing concern for many facility managers. This concern is especially urgent given the fact that most people spend more than 90% of their time indoors.
Poor indoor air quality is often responsible for a wide range of health concerns, including respiratory disease, reproductive and developmental defects, cardiovascular and neurological disease, and even cancer.
Jan/San Chemicals and Your Indoor Air Quality
Many of the chemicals we use in the jan/san (janitorial/sanitation) industry don’t do IAQ any favors. They contain pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as other chemical emissions, which can trigger unwanted symptoms such as allergy attacks, headaches, and asthma, and other chronic health impacts.
In the jan/san industry, many manufactures claim to offer “sustainable” or “green” products that emit fewer VOCs and other harmful chemical emissions to promote better indoor air quality. But, as you may have already discovered, it isn’t always easy to know which products truly emit fewer VOCs and other chemicals, and which ones are primarily hype. And that’s where GREENGUARD Certification comes in.
GREENGUARD Helps You Choose Products Wisely
If you want peace of mind that your cleaning chemicals (and many other product categories) contribute to healthier IAQ, consider seeking products that have been certified by GREENGUARD. This third-party certification program helps you identify products proven to provide lower VOC and other harmful chemical emissions. Products with “green” claims that cannot be backed up scientifically do not receive GREENGUARD Certification.
GREENGUARD Certification applies to VOC and chemical-emitting products designed to be used for indoor environments including furniture, gymnasium equipment, insulation, textiles, paints and coatings, flooring, and many others. Examples of chemicals that can receive certification include:
- Floor and carpet cleaners
- Multi-surface cleaners
- Glass cleaners
- Bathroom cleaners
- Bowl & urinal cleaners
- And more
GREENGUARD Gold Certification
Is your facility a school or a nursing home? You may want to take certification further and look for products with GREENGUARD Gold Certification. This level of certification is even more exacting and includes criteria for people who are especially susceptible to chemicals, such as children, patients, and the elderly. Because children’s vital organs are still developing, they are highly vulnerable to complications from VOCs and other harmful chemical emissions in the air. Children also breathe air that’s closer to the floor, where airborne chemicals linger. GREENGUARD Gold was developed to test products based on such susceptibilities.
With laboratories located in the US, Germany and China, GREENGUARD tests over 70,000 products in numerous categories. The GREENGUARD Certification testing criteria is among the most demanding emissions standards in the world. VOC and chemical emissions are meticulously compared against criteria used by the Environmental Protection Agency, the State of California, and other agencies depending on the product and the test.
If indoor air quality is important at your facility, you don’t have to take a manufacture’s word that their product is “green” or eco-friendly. Give yourself and your facility’s occupants some peace of mind that the chemicals you’re using actually take your air quality into consideration.