The Unexpected Impact of Green Cleaning Services
We have made the point that Green cleaning is intended to improve the indoor air quality of the workplace, and that is important. We are just realizing the short-term and long-term affect of Green cleaning on the people closest to the workplace. Those with asthma, allergies, chemical sensitivities, or health-impaired will feel the hurt of poor indoor air quality long before more health-stable workers. But, all workers will be affected over the long-term in ways that are yet to be determined.
Outside the office, the cleaning products used have yet another level of health concerns. Soap and cleaning product containing phosphates promote algae growth that rob oxygen from the water. Lack of oxygen causes "Dead Zone" where aquatic life cannot survive. Many cities no longer have beautiful blue-green rivers, but brown-green rivers that literally smell bad.
Triclosan combines with tap water to form chemicals that are linked to the formation of cancer. Triclosan is an antibacterial chemicals that can damage the thyroid glands of animals. It is not found in over 60% of streams in the United States. This chemical can accumulate within the bodies of animals that drink the contaminated water. Many scientists are concerned bacteria frequently exposed to triclosan will mutate. Bacteria can develop resistance and spawn what is known as “super bacteria” that is resistant to regular disinfectants. The American Medical Association (AMA) has officially issued a warning against using antibacterial products for regular home cleaning in order to prevent bacterial resistance.
Phthalates is the name of a broad group of chemicals often present in conventional cleaning products. Chemical manufacturers produce billions of pounds of these every year. These cause reproductive health issues such as birth defects, reduced sperm count in men, damaged sperm DNA, and hormonal abnormalities in babies.
Alkylphenol ethoxylate is used as a surfactant in cleaners, can damage the glands and reproductive systems of the animals who come into contact with polluted water.
Zinc that is used in floor finish is removed from the floor during stripping, and the waste is sent down the drains and waterways.
Water treatment facilities are not set up to remove all these complex chemical threats, so they go full circle and end up in our drinking water.
So, when you hear some say that they don't care about Green cleaning, ask them if they care about dead fish in our waterways, super bacteria that threaten us all, harm to the reproduction of animals and people, cancer to a family member, and premature death to their workers.