Tuesday, June 21, 2011

San Francisco Schools May Expand Green Cleaning Program

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In an effort to reduce asthma attacks in children, San Francisco officials want to institute green cleaning programs in all of the city's public schools.
At the end of this month, the San Francisco Unified School District Board will consider expanding its green cleaning program. Under the plan, all of the sinks used by custodians would be retrofitted with specially designed faucets that release measured amounts of “green” cleaning agents. Roughly half of the city's schools are already equipped with these spigots.
The move is intended to combat childhood asthma rates, which affect nearly 667,000 school-aged children in California, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency.
“Chemical cleaners are triggers for asthma,” according to school board member Jill Wynns. “When kids are with us, we are responsible for them. Kids can’t learn if they are having an asthma attack. Kids with asthma miss school and that costs us money.”
While green cleaning supplies typically cost more, district officials say the fact that the cleaning liquids will be released in controlled spurts will help hold down costs. Many cleaning products, including bleach, contain asthmagens, which can exacerbate or lead to the onset of asthma, health officials say.
If approved by the board on June 28, the green cleaning program would cut down on the use of toxic cleaners containing bleach and other cleaners, as well as retrofit sinks used by the custodial staff. The district hopes to establish a Green Cleaning Oversight Committee that would be charged with securing local, state and federal funds and private donations for the new taps.
It is not yet clear how much the project will cost. The committee will also design a green cleaning training program for school janitors, food service workers, special education teachers and parents.
The district intends to have the program fully established by the fall of 2013. A pilot program funded with local and state dollars retrofit sinks in 43 schools.
“I believe this won’t cost us any more than we now spend for cleaning supplies,” Wynns said. “We hope as more people use green cleaners, the price of them will go down.”
Some parents said they welcomed the program as long as it does not affect classroom funding.
“I support the program because at some point we have to bite the bullet and invest in sustainability,” said Crystal Brown, co-president of Educate Our State, a parent-led group dedicated to reforming the state’s public schools. “San Francisco is the city to do it. At the same time, I hope there is no money devoted from the classroom, because we can’t afford it.”
The district’s program is being developed with help from various health organizations and public health agencies, including the San Francisco Asthma Task Force, a group of educators, health and environmental officials tasked with examining local asthma rates.
“There is a huge cost to society from children missing schools,” said Linda Civitello, chief executive of Breathe California, Golden Gate Public Health Partnership, a Daly City-based nonprofit organization focused on lung health and air quality that is helping in the district’s effort. “Asthma is the number one cause of school absenteeism for children nationwide. It is the number one cause of hospitalizations for children with chronic illness.”
In an effort to reduce asthma attacks in children, San Francisco officials want to institute green cleaning programs in all of the city's public schools.

At the end of this month, the San Francisco Unified School District Board will consider expanding its green cleaning program. Under the plan, all of the sinks used by custodians would be retrofitted with specially designed faucets that release measured amounts of “green” cleaning agents. Roughly half of the city's schools are already equipped with these spigots.
 

The move is intended to combat childhood asthma rates, which affect nearly 667,000 school-aged children in California, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency.

“Chemical cleaners are triggers for asthma,” according to school board member Jill Wynns. “When kids are with us, we are responsible for them. Kids can’t learn if they are having an asthma attack. Kids with asthma miss school and that costs us money.”


While green cleaning supplies typically cost more, district officials say the fact that the cleaning liquids will be released in controlled spurts will help hold down costs. Many cleaning products, including bleach, contain
asthmagens, which can exacerbate or lead to the onset of asthma, health officials say.


If approved by the board on June 28, the green cleaning program would cut down on the use of toxic cleaners containing bleach and other cleaners, as well as retrofit sinks used by the custodial staff. The district hopes to establish a Green Cleaning Oversight Committee that would be charged with securing local, state and federal funds and private donations for the new taps.


It is not yet clear how much the project will cost. The committee will also design a green cleaning training program for school janitors, food service workers, special education teachers and parents.
The district intends to have the program fully established by the fall of 2013. A pilot program funded with local and state dollars retrofit sinks in 43 schools.


“I believe this won’t cost us any more than we now spend for cleaning supplies,” Wynns said. “We hope as more people use green cleaners, the price of them will go down.”


Some parents said they welcomed the program as long as it does not affect classroom funding.
“I support the program because at some point we have to bite the bullet and invest in sustainability,” said Crystal Brown, co-president of Educate Our State, a parent-led group dedicated to reforming the state’s public schools. “San Francisco is the city to do it. At the same time, I hope there is no money devoted from the classroom, because we can’t afford it.”


The district’s program is being developed with help from various health organizations and public health agencies, including the San Francisco Asthma Task Force, a group of educators, health and environmental officials tasked with examining local asthma rates.


“There is a huge cost to society from children missing schools,” said Linda Civitello, chief executive of Breathe California, Golden Gate Public Health Partnership, a Daly City-based nonprofit organization focused on lung
health and air quality that is helping in the district’s effort. “Asthma is the number one cause of school absenteeism for children nationwide. It is the number one cause of hospitalizations for children with chronic illness.”

In an effort to reduce asthma attacks in children, San Francisco officials want to institute green cleaning programs in all of the city's public schools.
At the end of this month, the San Francisco Unified School District Board will consider expanding its green cleaning program. Under the plan, all of the sinks used by custodians would be retrofitted with specially designed faucets that release measured amounts of “green” cleaning agents. Roughly half of the city's schools are already equipped with these spigots.
The move is intended to combat childhood asthma rates, which affect nearly 667,000 school-aged children in California, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency.
“Chemical cleaners are triggers for asthma,” according to school board member Jill Wynns. “When kids are with us, we are responsible for them. Kids can’t learn if they are having an asthma attack. Kids with asthma miss school and that costs us money.”
While green cleaning supplies typically cost more, district officials say the fact that the cleaning liquids will be released in controlled spurts will help hold down costs. Many cleaning products, including bleach, contain asthmagens, which can exacerbate or lead to the onset of asthma, health officials say.
If approved by the board on June 28, the green cleaning program would cut down on the use of toxic cleaners containing bleach and other cleaners, as well as retrofit sinks used by the custodial staff. The district hopes to establish a Green Cleaning Oversight Committee that would be charged with securing local, state and federal funds and private donations for the new taps.
It is not yet clear how much the project will cost. The committee will also design a green cleaning training program for school janitors, food service workers, special education teachers and parents.
The district intends to have the program fully established by the fall of 2013. A pilot program funded with local and state dollars retrofit sinks in 43 schools.
“I believe this won’t cost us any more than we now spend for cleaning supplies,” Wynns said. “We hope as more people use green cleaners, the price of them will go down.”
Some parents said they welcomed the program as long as it does not affect classroom funding.
“I support the program because at some point we have to bite the bullet and invest in sustainability,” said Crystal Brown, co-president of Educate Our State, a parent-led group dedicated to reforming the state’s public schools. “San Francisco is the city to do it. At the same time, I hope there is no money devoted from the classroom, because we can’t afford it.”
The district’s program is being developed with help from various health organizations and public health agencies, including the San Francisco Asthma Task Force, a group of educators, health and environmental officials tasked with examining local asthma rates.
“There is a huge cost to society from children missing schools,” said Linda Civitello, chief executive of Breathe California, Golden Gate Public Health Partnership, a Daly City-based nonprofit organization focused on lung health and air quality that is helping in the district’s effort. “Asthma is the number one cause of school absenteeism for children nationwide. It is the number one cause of hospitalizations for children with chronic illness.”

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