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Green Seal standards benefit schools

September 19, 2010
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Back in the day, green in schools referred to “green-boards,” and the three Rs referred to basic learning skills — Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. But, in today’s green culture, teachers may often describe the three Rs in a much different way — Reduce, Reuse and Recycle — and state legislators have passed Green Clean Schools Acts recognizing the health and learning benefits of schools adopting green-cleaning programs.

The states of New York (Sept. 1, 2006) and Illinois (May 9, 2008) have enacted Green Clean Schools Acts requiring elementary and secondary schools to use environmentally preferable cleaning and maintenance products. The legislation will impact millions of students: In New York, 2.7 million students; in Illinois, 2.035 million students.* Green Seal, the premier ecolabel in the U.S., is cited in both pieces of legislation. Not far behind are the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, California and Washington; their legislators are considering similar bills that would require statewide green cleaning in schools.

“Green Seal is proud to be able to help schools offer more protection for a vulnerable population — our children — and provide a healthier environment in which to learn,” said Dr. Arthur B. Weissman, president and CEO of Green Seal Inc. “It is critical that our schools use products and practices that are environmentally sustainable to minimize or eliminate exposure to toxic chemicals for students, teachers and workers.”

Green Seal has developed two leadership standards for green school programs: GS-37, the Environmental Standard for Industrial and Institutional Cleaners, and GS-42, the Environmental Standard for Cleaning Services. GS-37 has just been revised, according to Dr. Weissman, to better protect vulnerable populations such as children based on new technologies and information regarding exposures and asthmagens. The requirements for a green cleaning service are well defined by GS-42, which establishes criteria for both in-house and external cleaning services.

Green Cleaning School Programs, passed into law by the states of New York and Illinois, identify six categories of green cleaning products that schools will need to purchase: Bathroom cleaners, carpet cleaners, general purpose cleaners/hard floor surface cleaners, glass cleaners, hand cleaners/hand soaps, and paper products.

These States require green cleaning products be certified by internationally recognized environmental programs like Green Seal and Environmental Choice of Canada.

* Information and Reporting Services, New York State Education Department State Analysis, Illinois State Board of Education

About Green Seal
Green seal is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to safeguarding the environment and transforming the marketplace by promoting the manufacture, purchase, and use of environmentally responsible products and services. For more information visit

Linda H. Chipperfield
V.P. of Marketing & Outreach
Green Seal Inc.

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