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EPA Enters With Big Green News

September 19, 2010
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Although next month is Cleaning & Maintenance Management''s CM/Spotlight: Green Cleaning issue, a noteworthy news release was published on CM e-News Daily™ in early April that is too significant to wait another month.

So at the risk of green overload (and really, is that possible at this point?), I''d like to dedicate this space to discuss the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency''s (EPA) most recent announcement.

Green''s Road To Policy

According to the industry''s only daily e-News service, "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials voiced interest in recommending the adoption of a policy that allows suppliers to make valid [environmentally preferability] claims for disinfectants and sanitizers."

The release also states that this move is uncharacteristic of the Agency''s "well entrenched policy that prohibits ''green'' claims to be made in conjunction with the promotion of any EPA registered product, including antimicrobial pesticides."

But now efforts and attention are being shifted to disinfectants and sanitizers.

Although the process is not yet complete, the EPA planned to make the recommendations at the April 22-23 meeting of EPA''s Pesticide Policy Dialogue Committee.

According to the release, the green claim policy recommendations are based on the EPA Working Group on Comparative Claims.

Steve Ashkin, a prominent green consultant, and Bill Balek, director of legislative affairs for ISSA, played key roles in this group.

"This latest development by EPA is another indication of the growing maturity of green cleaning, and the increasing availability of environmentally preferable products that also meet the most stringent performance and health and safety requirements," noted Balek.

The entire release, along with details about the current internal pilot and future projects, can be found on

Day Of Reckoning?

Approximately seven months ago, when the groundwork was being established for this most recent announcement, I turned to members of the Bulletin Board for opinions.

Some were simply confused by the initiative since the primary purpose of a disinfectant is to destroy microorganisms. And green cleaning''s purpose — as we''re informed — is to not harm the environment, including living organisms.

There are obviously some grey areas in this conversation and literal interpretation can lead to confusion.

However, policy changes appear to be coming and, even though customers might not be aware now, the success of these potential claims and labels will be consumer-driven … if the products work and are cost comparable.

Stay tuned and ask questions.

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