Lincolnwood, IL — ISSA, the worldwide cleaning-industry association, and its research partner, the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI), have completed Phase I of their research — consisting of laboratory and limited field testing in 70 schools and two day-care facilities — to determine the best methodologies and measurement systems that ultimately will form the foundation for a clean standard for K-12 schools.
The ISSA-funded research is designed to determine which currently available measurement devices are most effective for practical field use in schools by industry professionals in determining whether a facility is “clean” and therefore in a state that is conducive to the health of students. Results from Phase I research (both lab and field testing in schools) suggest that adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, measuring devices appear to be a promising and appropriate approach to detecting significant differences between “dirty” and “clean” surfaces in schools. In addition, a comprehensive approach to defining “clean” and indoor environmental quality in K-12 schools is being developed.
“Based on the research conducted to date, ISSA is confident that this project will produce a scientific-based, pragmatic standard that will significantly improve the quality of the learning environment for students in K-12 schools across the nation and that will also provide ISSA members with a valuable tool that will help them succeed in today’s demanding and increasingly more health conscious marketplace,” said ISSA Director of Legislative Affairs Bill Balek.
ISSA will host multiple sessions at ISSA/INTERCLEAN® North America 2009 — October 6-9, in Chicago, IL — addressing its K-12 research progress in more detail. To learn more, visit www.issa.com/show for a list of sessions.
Data generated by field testing in a major school district conducted during the 2008-09 school year will augment additional testing slated for the 2009-10 school year, ensuring that the clean standard is based on a strong scientific foundation grounded in reality. Rigorous testing is being done on a variety of common surfaces, such as desks and countertops, and in hallway areas where children are likely to be on a regular basis. In addition to multiple surfaces, the testing includes multiple types of materials for each surface — from wood and metal to ceramic and brick, among others.
According to the University of Maryland’s Dr. Steven Spivak, chair of the Clean Standards Science Committeeand project manager of Clean Standard Research, “The testing being done is extensive in terms of including multiple commonly used surfaces that would be used in the majority of school settings. Thus, we can ensure that any standards of measurement and cleanliness levels can be reproduced in facilities across North America.”
The goal of this three-year research project is the cooperative development of a science-based clean standard for K-12 schools that will be the springboard for industry data, training, measurement, and certification programs.
In addition to testing cleaning and measurement methods, performance metric data, such as student academic performance and absenteeism rates, are being provided by the school district. This aspect of the research will study the connection between indoor environmental quality, cleanliness, and student health and performance.
“This melding of the clean standard’s research with actual student performance propels this ISSA/CIRI joint effort into a realm of scientific validity, meaningful results, and public acceptance not previously envisaged at this stage,” said Spivak.