Green business operations is a growing trend in commercial businesses, this includes the products used to keep the office clean. Utilizing green products and equipment can reduce the number of health problems from fumes, allergies, and rashes in employees who work in the office. It is important to understand what chemicals to look for so they can be avoided. Only purchase products that have a complete list of ingredients. Here are some tips to help in choosing the best green cleaning products for a business environment.
Read the Label
This may sound pretty obvious, but not all cleaning supplies that are supposed to be green even list all of the ingredients. It is important to read the label and understand what it means. Avoid cleaners that have ammonia, chlorine or any other caustic chemicals. These create fumes that can irritate eyes and throat. The fumes linger so the people who work in the office are also being exposed. Green products should be PH neutral. All-purpose cleaners should be plant based solvents instead of chemical based solvents. When reading the label if there is a word or name that looks unusual be sure to ask what it is and why it is in the product
Look for Green Seal Certification
Look for the Green Seal certification on labels. This certification means the product has been tested and evaluated by a laboratory that is not connected to the manufacturer or seller, similar to a Consumer Reports style testing lab. To earn this seal the product must meet specific environmental standards, undergo rigorous testing and a visit to the plant where the product is manufactured. Once earned this certification can be displayed on the packaging, in promotional material and in advertising. These products have proven they are environmentally better than the competition.
Purchase from Reputable Companies
Only purchase green products from reputable companies, such as Seventh Generation and Simple Green, and make sure they can provide a complete list of the ingredients for the product. Just because the packaging says “green” doesn’t mean the product doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. Be sure to check.
These are just a few tips to help choose green cleaning products. For more information contact us.
A substance is determined to be toxic by it’s ability to cause damage on a cellular level or even effect the whole body. This damage may be visible, such as a burn or it may be invisible damage, such as organ damage, cancer or memory loss. Most chemicals enter the body via the lungs, the mouth, the skin and the eyes that occur with cleaning supplies, stain and water resistant products. In the office environment people should be especially concerned with exposure to PFCs, or Perfluorinated Compounds. PFCs are chemicals with stain-resistant or water-resistant properties. They are applied on office furniture, carpet, food packaging and food preparation pans and utensils. Our contact with these materials is one of the reasons PFCs are now more commonly found in our blood.
3M’s Scotchguard was discontinued in 2002 when studies found PFCs in their carpet, furniture and clothing treatments. However, not all manufacturers have discontinued use. PFCs are still found in teflon coated cooking utensils and on most office furniture. One source that many people are unaware of, is the use of these in our food packaging such as the grease-resistant lining on pizza boxes and the inside of microwave popcorn bags.
There is still much to learn about how these and other chemicals can affect our long term health. The EPA has developed a recommended action plan for all companies to take to avoid exposure until studies are completed and assurances can be made. The Washington Toxics Coalition also provides good tips and recommendations. There are many alternatives with all of these materials that are considered non-toxic, safe for the environment and for your employees.
If you need help finding non-toxic alternatives please contact us, we would be happy to help.
Phthalates are industrial chemical compounds used in a huge array of consumer products, including; beauty products, hairsprays, wood finishers, vinyl flooring, and medical devices. They are also found in a high majority of soft plastic type consumer products that make plastics more flexible. The global chemicals industry produces nearly six million tons of phthalates every year.
In an e-magazine article, Childhood Obesity and Phthalates, they note a study that related obesity in kids with phthalate exposure. It also noted exposure can cause reproductive problems and social and behavioral problems often seen in autism. Another report, The Problem with Phthalates, cites that phthalates ‘can damage the sexual development of children’.
Be mindful when shopping and try to purchase phthalates free products. Below are some resources to help guide consumers;
According to an article by Safer States, nearly each day, four million people in the United States… are exposed to toxic chemicals in their workplace on a daily basis. What’s worse is that this number is only counting towards the people in direct contact with the chemicals- like janitors, landscapers, and groundskeepers. Now imagine what the statistics jump to once you include all the people who indirectly work around those chemicals- like all the employees who work in your office.
Here are some tips for how to switch to eco-friendly products that will still make your office as clean and beautiful, but without the negative effects on the environment or your health:
Use eco-friendly cleaning products- these cleaning products recommended by the EPA are generally bio-based which means that they break down easily in the environment and do not omit toxic or other harmful substances into the air.
Use an eco-friendly vacuum cleaner- these vacuum cleaners actually help improve indoor air quality by using HEPA filters that can trap nearly 100% of airborne particles.
Use eco-friendly fertilizers and de-icers right outside the office to keep the walkways clear in the winter and the lawns lush and green in the summer, all while reducing the amounts of pollutants seeping into the air and ground.
Add plants to your office. Not only do plants add a sense of beauty and hominess to a workplace, they also add to an eco-friendly environment by absorbing air pollutants.
Contact us today and talk to our eco consultants about how to transform your office environment into a healthy work environment.
In spring, there is a high volume of pesticides and fertilizers being used to keep lawns green and weed free. Before using your normal chemicals, consider using green or natural alternatives.
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are known carcinogens and have also been linked to asthma, birth defects and neurological disorders. (for more citations on health, visit the Kids for Saving the Earth). These chemicals are also affecting our wildlife too. Particularly our bee population which chemical pesticides have been proven to be one of the primary reasons we have had such decline in our bee populations. (To learn more visit E-Magazine’s article on Pesticide Linked to Honey Bee Deaths)
Here are some resources for natural pesticide and fertilizer use;
OrganoLawn is a Colorado based lawn care service that only uses natural and organic pesticide and fertilizer products.
According to the EPA, of the nearly three thousand top selling chemicals in the U.S., only 7 percent have a full set of basic toxicity information. Most of the chemicals that are used in conventional cleaners have known carcinogens that are harmful to your family and pets. Not to mention the cleaners and chemicals that get into our potable water supply.
With your spring cleaning, try to use natural cleaners for your home. There are some great natural home cleaning products such as Method, Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers found at your local natural food or hardware stores. The EPA also has a great guide on purchasing green cleaning products.
You can also try to make your own cleaners, and here are a few websites and articles that have some good information;
In Natural Home and Garden, they had a great article, Naturally Clean Home, that provided receipts and ingredients to create your own natural cleaners. Good, clear and simple directions.
Method, a green cleaning product manufacturer, came out with the “Dirty Ingredient” list which catalogs a list of toxic ingredients common in personal care and cleaning products. There are currently more than 85,000 synthetic chemicals registered for use in North America. Only 10% of them have been fully tested for their effects on human health and the environment. It is difficult to know about all of the harmful chemicals, toxins, and products in your office and home when you don’t necessarily see, feel, or even smell them.
Here are some other resources for choosing non-toxic and safe body care and cleaning products;