The Use of Third-Party Review to Reduce Health and Environmental Hazards from Surfactants and Cleaning Products in the Janitorial Industry

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The demand for environmentally preferable products is increasing in the area of Institutional and Industrial (I&I) cleaners. The GreenBlue Institute (GreenBlue) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA’s) Design for Environment (DfE) launched two programs to review surfactant ingredients and final cleaning products, with the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) conducting third-party reviews. The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program (LHWMP) in King County, Washington, has a strategic goal to reduce the risk of exposure of hazardous chemicals to vulnerable populations such as janitorial workers. This report summarizes the NSF partnership with GreenBlue, CleanGredients, and U.S. EPA’s DfE to perform third-party reviews of cleaning product ingredients and its relevance to LHWMP’s interest in reducing risks to workers in the janitorial industry. Due to information barriers, workers in the janitorial industry are at risk daily to these hazardous chemicals. The surfactant and formulator review program will make positive contributions towards the reduction of toxic chemical exposure to the employees of the janitorial industry. With proper communication and an increased use of less toxic cleaners, exposures to vulnerable populations can be reduced.

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