Green cleaning is more popular than ever and the term is heard often, but what is it all about? Green cleaning is when you use a product that reduces the impact on both human health as well as the environment when compared to other available products. Despite the lesser impact that green cleaners have, they can still cause skin irritation, eye irritation or trigger asthma for those who use the products. The likelihood of causing irritation depends on many factors, including how it is used, its chemical ingredients, and the amount of those ingredients in the product.
To use cleaning products safely, the following steps should be taken:
• Use all products according to the manufacturer’s directions.
• Do not mix cleaning chemicals together. Many products can irritate eyes and trigger asthma when they are mixed together.
• Keep a label on all chemical containers.
• Read the product label before using cleaners. In addition, employees must be trained on proper use and health effects of the products before being assigned to use the products.
• Keep a Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for each product available to employees. The Safety Data Sheets provide information on appropriate personal protective equipment and on first aid measures.
• Avoid spraying chemical products in an aerosol. Apply cleaners directly to a cloth instead of spraying.
• Use goggles if you might be splashed in the eyes when mixing or using the chemicals. Use gloves to prevent skin contact, as needed.
• Choose products that contain a disinfectant only when disinfection or sanitization is required for specific surfaces.
For agencies and municipalities using the state vendor list, a list of approved green cleaning products is available at www.mass.gov/epp.
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