By Asquith Williams – Chief Operating Officer
When we talk about creating healthier and safer places, we are referring to the health and safety benefits that come when spaces are cleaned properly and effectively, stopping infection in its tracks and eliminating safety hazards. But we’re also talking about providing products that have minimal negative impact on indoor air quality, so that frontline workers and building occupants can breathe easier. When the cleaning industry approaches health from all angles—cleaning to stop infection and choosing process and products that protect indoor air quality—everyone wins.
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
As its name implies, Indoor Air Quality—or IAQ—refers to the air within buildings as it relates to the health and comfort levels of all building occupants. Many things affect indoor air quality, including air duct venting, the amount of outdoor air that is circulated through an indoor space, or the presence of asbestos, mold, radon, or tobacco smoke. Off gassing from building materials like new floors and furniture can compromise indoor air quality, as can dust and allergens present in carpeting, drapes and upholstered items. Certain chemicals, including those found in cleaning products, can also impact indoor air quality. It is our responsibility, as manufacturers of cleaning products, to bring products to market that protect indoor air quality, rather than degrade it.
Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollution
When indoor air quality is compromised, so too is human health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are both immediate and long-term health effects caused by indoor air pollution, which will vary person to person based on medical history and sensitivity. Immediate effects can include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, or fatigue. In some cases, asthma can be triggered. Many of these symptoms are considered occupational hazards for front-line custodial workers. The U.S. EPA also cites some long-term health effects of repeated exposure to poor indoor air quality, including respiratory disease and even cancer. However, there is no consensus around what concentrations or periods of exposure would produce these specific health problems.
How We Can All Do Better
What we do know is that the less harmful, toxic ingredients we put into our cleaning products, the safer and healthier end users and building occupants will be. Cleaning products that are healthier for end users and building occupants have minimal impact on indoor air quality. That means that these cleaning products include raw ingredients that are proven to have little minimal impact on indoor air quality, are certified by independent third parties, are accompanied by efficient processes and are diluted to safe and healthy levels for human health. Custodial teams can protect their valuable employees’ health by making a commitment to choose cleaning products that are independently certified by an organization like ECOLOGO, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice program or Health Canada. These organizations test for each product’s impact on human health and the environment while also verifying efficacy, which is very important when researching products that claim to be healthier or “green.”
Our team of scientists at Charlotte is constantly looking for the most effective, less harmful raw ingredients that work in the most effective ways possible. We trust third-party certification organizations like ECOLOGO, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice program and Health Canada, and place a lot of value in their verification of the safety of our products. But we also test our products in house with the intent of creating solutions that not only meet, but to exceed, government regulations and our own exacting standards for performance, detergency, durability, environmental impact and human safety.
If you’d like to learn more about what we are doing or to connect with one of our experts to learn more about our products and their impact on indoor air quality, please email us at email@example.com