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Home Windows Cleaning / April 9, 2020

Classroom Cleaners Release 457 Air Pollutants

All across California, children spend many hours of the day in schools cleaned by products that can pollute classroom air. Cleaning supplies release 32 tons of contaminants into the air each day in California alone (CARB 2003; Nazaroff 2004).

EWG-commissioned tests of commonly used school cleaners reveal the wide range of chemicals children can breathe in each day at school. More than 20 products were selected based on a survey of the cleaning supplies used by several major California school districts, and tested individually by a leading laboratory that specializes in studying air pollution released by cleaning products. In a key part of this investigation, this state-of-the-art air quality laboratory cleaned a model classroom using multiple products at the same time, a first-of-its-kind test to measure the real-world pollution that occurs when typical assortments of cleaning supplies are used together.

The results are alarming. For example, some of the cleaning supplies used at home as well as at school release the highest number of contaminants measured. Some cleaners that appear "green" are anything but, misleading schools and consumers with marketing claims. Certified green cleaners, those meeting strict standards from independent groups, emit fewer contaminants on average and are safer choices for schools.