AFT video helps demystify green cleaning

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Ever wonder why some cleaning products are labeled "Warning" and others are stamped "Danger"? Curious about why some cleaners carry logos from the Environmental Protection Agency and others don't? You're not alone, and the AFT recently unveiled a new video to help answer these questions and demystify the process of putting safe, effective strategies for "green cleaning" into early care settings across the country.

Green cleaning video stillThe topic is a vital one for the early childhood education community—because of their low body weights and still-developing immune systems, young children can be particularly at risk when it comes to the hundreds of potentially dangerous chemicals on the market to clean homes and businesses. The AFT video helps early care providers as they navigate these concerns in their daily work.

Available in English and Spanish, the video blends comments, tips and demonstrations from frontline providers and some of the nation's most respected experts in the field. In less than eight minutes, ECE providers can get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to safe cleaning and green practices. Among them:

  • Why is it important to scan products for third-party logos from the EPA and other groups?
  • What are the label signal words "caution," "danger" and "warning" really telling you?
  • Does "dwell time" (the time a disinfectant is left on a surface before it's removed) really matter?

A lot of products on the market "are really overpowering," and that matters to people working with children whose "lungs are still developing," says Emily Pryer, an 18-year ECE veteran from Bradford, Vt., and one of several AFT members featured in the video.

The video also details a four-step action plan to promote safe, effective cleaning practices, and it offers comments from experts such as Carol Westinghouse, of Informed Green Solutions, and Dr. Asa Bradman, of the Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health at the University of California, Berkeley. Also included are links to reports and publications on best practices so that providers can delve deeper.

All of the information featured in the video and accompanying materials is clear and easy to use, and offers huge benefits for both adults and children in early care settings. Following these strategies "makes it better all around," says Tessa Lemieux, a child care center director from St. Johnsbury, Vt.

[Mike Rose]