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Provo City Schools Research Part II: The Importance of Measuring Cleaning

In the first part of this series, we explored the definition of “clean.” Now that we know what “clean” is, how do we get there? Ah, the million dollar question.

Just as no single agreed-upon definition of “clean” exists, no single standard or process for cleaning exists. As a result, we measure janitorial productivity in a variety of ways, which is largely dependent on the type of facility being cleaned.

To understand the importance of measurement, we’ll first look ways cleaning programs are currently measured, and then we’ll review a few examples of the benefits of measurement through a standardized approach to cleaning.

Current Strategies for Measuring Productivity and Their Limitations:

Visual Inspections: A visual inspection may reveal if a surface looks clean (e.g. is free from dirt or dust), but it does not reveal what is invisible to the eye, such as bacteria or viruses. Visual inspections are most common in retail environments where the emphasis is on appearance.

Cost-Per-Square-Foot Method: Often cleaning professionals want to evaluate cleaning productivity by establishing the cost for cleaning their facility. This method can present obstacles because of different surfaces that may or may not be factored into the equation. For example, do you factor the tops of books on a shelf as cleanable square footage? Should table surfaces be included as well? Not all cost-per-square foot method evaluations are created equally.

ATP Meter Readings: One of the newer methods for measuring cleanliness is Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) Testing. ATP is an enzyme present in all living cells; ATP meters detect the amount of organic mater that remains on a surface after cleaning. This method can lead to discrepancies between testers and not provide a true reflection of the cleanliness (or dirtiness) of a surface.

When we look at cleaning in an academic settings, the need for effective cleaning and cleaning measurement becomes most apparent.

Why Clean Schools Matter

In Dr. Campbell’s Provo City Schools research, he states:

Standards set a level of safety and performance for most industries. Therefore, a cleaning standard that ensures the building’s air quality, safety and health of the people therein should exist. Research shows that students in K-12 schools have improved capacity to learn when school environments are clean.

He identifies a survey conducted by the National Parent Teacher Association that revealed that cleanliness in schools was so insufficient that more than half of teachers (56 percent) purchase their own cleaning supplies to clean their classrooms.

While the immediate response might be to look at the school janitor, Dr. Campbell is quick to highlight research from the National Education Association that supports the need for better job descriptions for janitors:

* 38 percent of janitors have no job description

* 32 percent of those who do have a job description feel it does not match the scope of their work

64 percent of janitors often or sometimes perform work outside of their job description

YIKES. So teachers are taking it on themselves to clean their classrooms, but janitors are left with their hands in the air, because they aren’t clear on their responsibilities.

Why does this matter? Because the confusion surrounding the issue and the absence of a standardized approach and effective cleaning measurement tool to cleaning goes beyond issues of infection control and cross contamination.

Research shows that indoor air pollution (resulting from cleaning chemicals, dust and other particulates that can be breathed in) can result in lower work performance and higher rates of sickness.

Dr. Campbell cites multiple sources, including this research published in Indoor Air, Dr. Berry’s study at Charles Young Elementary School and this study published in Indoor Air Journal — all offering conclusive evidence that indoor pollutants negatively impact student health and performance.

Clean schools are healthier and more productive. But how can we make sure our schools are clean if there’s difficulty measuring janitorial productivity and cleanliness?

In the part three of this blog series, we’ll review how a standardized approach to cleaning establishes measures for janitorial productivity and positively impacts health and the indoor environment, as evidenced by the study at Dixon Middle School.

Provo City Schools Research Part I: What is “Clean,” Anyway?

Many building owners and managers don’t realize that the cost to clean a building over its lifetime will nearly equal the cost of its original construction. When you think about it, that’s pretty mind-blowing. Yet while construction materials and practices have evolved to improve efficiency and bring costs down, most schools are still using the same cleaning practices used 80-plus years ago.

We’ll be the first to say that using the proper cleaning products, tools and practices is important in any type of facility, but schools are particularly important because of their potential impact on student performance and health. In this three-part series, we’ll examine just how important of a role that cleaning plays in a school—specifically, an old K-12 school in Provo, UT. Using Dr. Jeffrey Campbell’s two-year research study entitled “The Clean Schools Initiative: Provo City School District” as a guide, we’ll look at the following:

  • How cleanliness is assessed and measured.
  • How the performance of cleaning personnel is evaluated.
  • How cleaning impacts indoor air quality.
  • How a standardized approach to cleaning can transform a school by improving morale,  saving money and creating a healthier, more productive indoor environment.

Ready?

How do we define “clean”?

Surprisingly, not one generally accepted definition of “clean” exists. This leads to broad discrepancies in how we clean. For example, some facilities clean for health (e.g. cleaners in healthcare clean to remove potentially harmful viruses and bacteria), and others clean for appearance (e.g. cleaners in a retail setting may clean to remove fingerprints and smudges from glass doors and display cases). But in order to identify how we should clean, we need to first identify what “clean” is and what it can achieve—so it’s a pretty critical piece of the puzzle.

In the book Protecting the Built Environment: Cleaning for Health, author Dr. Michael Berry writes, “cleaning is not only an activity, but a process and special form of management.”

Dr. Berry has conducted extensive research around the topic, looking at how cleaning impacts the educational performance of students and teachers. In particular, his study of the Charles Young Elementary School in Washington D.C. analyzed student performance before and after the building was remodeled and a higher standard of maintenance and cleanliness was implemented. His research revealed a strong correlation between the quality of of the physical school and quality of learning.

So if cleaning can have such positive outcomes (health, productivity and others), shouldn’t we also consider that in the definition?

Dr. Campbell proposes the following:

“Cleaning is a process that locates, identifies, contains, removes and properly disposes of an unwanted substance from a surface or environment, and contributes to the health and well-being of those who occupy the environment.”

By identifying a single commonly accepted definition of clean, we can start to streamline the processes that get us to that desired result.

How would you define clean? If it were a standardized process, do you feel that would allow us to better achieve the desired outcome of consistently “clean” environment?

In the next part of our series, we’ll look at how discrepancies in measurement of janitorial productivity and why clean matters—specifically in schools. 

University of Michigan Saves $2.1 Million Per Year and Improves Cleaning

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Submitted by ProTeam
CGN Editorial

The ProTeam Super CoachVac was featured in a series of posters at University of Michigan to educate the community about the elements of the new cleaning program.

 

In 2009, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor started a five year rollout of a comprehensive, high-performance cleaning management system, ManageMen‘s Operating System 1®, (OS1). John Lawter, Associate Director of Plant Building and Ground Services, chose (OS1) to improve productivity in light of ongoing budget cuts.

“We knew we were facing multiple years of reductions so we offered up 10% over 5 years with an understanding we would have a couple of years reprieve to protect our new program.” said Lawter. And since implementing (OS1), “We have met that 10 percent goal of $2.1 million and managed to improve services at the same time.”

With 200 facilities to clean covering a total of 15 million sq. ft., Lawter’s staff has gone from cleaning 36,000 sq. ft. per custodian to 40,000 sq. ft. per custodian, while improving the health of the environment. One of the biggest tenets of (OS1) is to clean for health first, then appearance. It was this and the simplified workflow that appealed to Lawter who wanted more consistency and fewer products.

“(OS1) was the only operating system we could find that was comprehensive and had been tested in a University setting for better than 10 years,” said Lawter. “We visited those programs as part of our due diligence and were impressed.”

In (OS1), custodians specialize in specific tasks, and they do all tasks of a single function at one time. This reduces wasted time switching tools and backtracking. Vacuum specialists may vacuum for an entire shift using a backpack vacuum designed by ProTeam® to reduce strain to the user.

“Dr. Berry’s study at the University of North Carolina showed us that, used properly, the backpack vacuum was a more ergonomic and effective product than an upright,” said Lawter.

Lawter swapped a ramshackle collection of uprights of different ages and models for ProTeam’s 11-pound Super CoachVac®.

“There’s no beater bar to throw dust around,” said Lawter. “It reduces the amount of dust particles in the air.” Two of Lawter’s staff who suffered from allergies reported their symptoms noticeably improving after switching to the backpack vacuum. ProTeam is partnered with the American Lung Association in efforts to educate the public about the importance of healthy indoor air.

Prior to implementing (OS1), the biggest problem Lawter faced was inconsistent performance, a symptom of the zone cleaning system they were using previously.

“No two custodians clean exactly alike,” said Lawter. “So, when one custodian is responsible for everything in an area, there will naturally be differences in the level of service. Our customers noticed those inconsistencies.”

According to Jeffrey L. Campbell, Ph.D., Chair of the BYU Facility Management program, Most custodial operations: “1) have no quantifiable standards; 2) are based solely on appearance; 3) have little or no method of measuring effectiveness and performance; 4) are not based on actual research; and 5) are driven by chemical and equipment manufacturers.”

Campbell recorded the story of the University of Michigan’s cleaning success along with the University of North Carolina and two other universities that implemented (OS1) in the article “Cutting Costs and Improving Outcomes for Janitorial Services” which appeared in the September/October 2011 issue of Facilities Manager and was reprinted in the Cleaning Gazette Newsletter the following May.

“In an industry that has been around as long as public buildings themselves, janitorial methods have seen little progress. As a matter of fact, most janitors today use the same tools and processes that were used 50 years ago,” said Campbell.

In addition to the timesaving backpack vacuums, (OS1) reduced Lawter’s chemical inventory from 50 products to less than 10. Individual use portion packs ensure that custodians get what they need and only what they need to clean every day. For Lawter, this hugely simplified the process.

“We used to have a committee of 30 people that would meet once a month and review the latest and greatest new products that came down the line,” said Lawter. “It was very inefficient, time-consuming, expensive, and led to a proliferation of products out there being tested by our workforce. ManageMen has a research and development arm for (OS1) users that does that, so I don’t directly deal with salesman. I love that.”

John Walker, President of ManageMen and progenitor of (OS1), explains how the echo chamber of product claims in the cleaning industry is rarely substantiated by science. “Everyone sells productivity tools. People buy them to save money and time, but they never document that they did it,” said Walker. “The University of Michigan’s janitorial department is a pioneer in documenting over $2 million in savings. They gave it back to the university.”

As reported in the Cleaning Gazette Newsletter last July, Sightlines, a prominent facility management assistance firm, did a thorough evaluation of the University of Michigan in the fall of 2010. They compared the data to a database of 300 institutions of higher learning and a group of 10 peer universities chosen by the administration.

This survey was taken in the midst of the (OS1) rollout at the university. The custodial department had not yet reached the 80-percent audit they hoped for. They were still rated as the number one organization in cleanliness evaluations. The study also showed high production rates and low cost of materials in comparison to their peers and the greater database.

“They got to a 2.5 cleaning level on a 3.5 APPA budget,” said Walker. “And in the Sightlines study, they beat virtually everyone in the country and in their peer group after adopting (OS1). There has never been a collection of data like this.”

In their most recent (OS1) audit last month, the University of Michigan surpassed their goal of an 80 percent audit, reaching 83 and 87 percent. According to Walker, it is the work of people like Lawter and his staff in documenting the effectiveness of (OS1) that will someday take the cleaning industry by storm. When cleaning is standardized, workflows are simplified, and productive tools are utilized, unbelievable savings are possible. “You can reduce costs and improve results with this documented system,” said Walker.

(OS1) Green Certified and Green Programs of Excellence Announced

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We are thrilled to announce the organizations who have earned their (OS1) Green Certified Program Awards and/or the (OS1) Green Program of Excellence Awards for the 2011/2012 Audit Season. Winners will be presented their official award plaque at the 11th Annual Simon Institute Symposium in New Orleans, LA next week. To see a complete list of who earned these prestigious awards, please click on a link below:

 

Green Certified Program recipients showing their awards at the Simon Institute Symposium - 2011

About the Awards…

(OS1) organizational certification is determined by our (OS1) Audit criteria, on a building-to-building basis, within a cleaning organization. Currently, there are approximately 340 different factors we look at that cause any building to be clean.  We audit what is going on at the actual site, as well as, the management of that site.

(OS1) Green Certifed Awards are presented to facilities that have submitted to the (OS1) Progress Audit and earned at least an 80% score or higher. Programs that earn a 90% or higher score, earn the (OS1) Green Certified – Program of Excellence Award. A facility that achieves this certification is successfully managing their (OS1) Program. At this level, an (OS1) organization is reducing environmental risk and the probability of unwanted effects. Specifically, (OS1) Green Certified Programs and (OS1) Green Programs of Excellence can demonstrate the following:

  • Cleaning for Health first and then for appearance
  • Disposing of cleaning wastes in a environmentally responsible manner
  • Increased worker safety and awareness
  • Increased level of sanitation of building surfaces
  • Responsible and proper removal of pollutants from the facility
  • Reduction of chemical, particle and moisture residue
  • Minimization of human exposure to pollutants

‘Science As It Relates to (OS1)’ by Dr. Michael Berry

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Dr. Berry delivering his presentation at the 2006 (OS1) Users Symposium in Midway, UT.

 

 

Over years of professional practice, teaching and scientific research Dr. Michael Berry is a true pioneer in identifying the foundational principles of what cleaning really means. His book, Protecting the Built Environment: Cleaning for Health, was ahead its time. Unfortunately those in the industry that should have taken hold of Berry’s principles have continued business-as-usual.

Most cleaners and janitorial operations are still cleaning the way they did 80 years ago. They are driven by equipment manufacturers and chemical companies that dictate the direction of the industry. There is no evidence based research. There is no common language or standards. The only focus of cleaning is appearance based with no thought about contaminants and indoor environmental problems.

Below is a link to the complete transcript of the presentation that  was delivered by  Michael Berry, PhD, at the 2006 Simon Institute Symposium.   In this presentation, Berry discusses the value of cleaning science; the effect of sick and mismanaged buildings; remediating the Frank Porter Graham building with a deep cleaning protocol and the findings from his 2006 publicly funded study of traditional housekeeping vs. the (OS1) cleaning process.  That study evaluated traditional housekeeping methods vs. a high performance cleaning program over the span of three months at The University of North Carolina.  It is also important to note that Berry also discusses key components of a high performance cleaning program in this presentation.

To read full transcript, please click here

Achieving Green Cleaning

Article from the March 2012 Issue of The Cleaning Gazette

There is a conflict in the professional cleaning industry. The green cleaning movement has pushed for cleaning products and practices that are free of toxins, poisons, endocrine disrupters and known carcinogens. Yet, recent outbreaks of infectious diseases and drug-resistant bacteria demand that pathogens be eliminated from the indoor built environment utilizing “kill” agents (read poisons).

In (OS1), we meet both requirements by utilizing an engineered cleaning process and a scientifically validated process for reducing pathogenic microorganisms. (OS1) strikes the right balance between being environmentally sustainable and controlling pathogenic microorganisms.

Benchmarking Best Practices

For twenty years, we have educated organizations about cleaning processes and products that ensure their worker’s health and safety. Aerosols and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were first reduced, then eliminated from the (OS1) program. They were replaced by Green Seal Certified chemicals that also provided a source reduction of landfill waste. Mixing chemicals was eliminated. All daily-use (OS1) cleaning chemicals come in pre measured packs so the worker just adds water. This eliminates the danger of chemical overexposure. Although to (OS1) users it is just common sense and education, this is an uncommon practice in the jan/san industry. In addition to safer chemical formulations and packaging, our (OS1) trained Coaches teach their employees chemistry basics including the pH scale, the “4 S’s of cleaning” and cleaning physics. They also train their employees on the correct application of cleaning tools and time. New, neutral pH disinfectants were introduced by PortionPac that effectively kill pathogens, but are safer on surfaces.

John Walker, President of ManageMen says:

“It’s all about knowing the surface and using the right chemical solvent on the soil that is present at the right time. Do it right the first time and you won’t damage surfaces and you won’t have to do it over.”

Disinfection requires not only the right solution, but friction as well, according the the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The tool of choice to provide that friction is the (OS1) specified Unger microfiber cloth. Microfiber razor-scrapes the surface. It actually cuts the bacteria away from the surface. The use of color-coded microfiber cloths helps prevent cross-contamination and communicates to the cleaning team who is following instructions. Microfiber is also easier to launder because the weave is so tight, pathogens are washed off the surface quite simply.

Maintaining Indoor Air Quality

Even with the presence of toxic cleaning chemicals reduced, indoor air quality can suffer without proper cleaning techniques and subsequently affect the health of cleaning workers and building occupants. It’s vital that contaminants in the air are captured at their source, before they enter our breathing zones. High efficiency vacuum filters and HEPA filters remove those invisible particulates that carry bacteria and mold spores.

Filters on vacuums clog frequently. When filters are dirty, clogged, and not changed often enough, they lose efficiency. Air quality is almost entirely a function of a custodian’s cleaning or polluting functions indoors, according to Dr. Berry’s UNC study. It is fundamental that the practices of indoor environmental management include tracking vacuum filter changes and cleaning.
Catch Dirt at the Door

“Something as simple as floor mats can also make a huge difference”, according to Dr. Michael Berry in the University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill, publicly funded study comparing “Traditional Housekeeping” with the (OS1) cleaning process in 2006.

In (OS1), we specify that the building must have at least a 15-20 foot walk-off mat. That’s at least five steps on a mat to clean your shoes. If you don’t use mats, dirt tracks into the building. Mats are designed to scrape soil from shoes, and carpets have a tendency to hide the dirt. We want to scrape and remove, not conceal dirt.

Cleaning Professionalism

The establishment of professionalism among (OS1) cleaning workers follows their training and certification. They are the true environmentalists of the indoor environment. (OS1) Users must establish themselves as the  “EnvironMentors” to the  building occupants in the indoor environments that we all share.

Cleaning Science

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From the February 2012 issue of The Cleaning Gazette

What is mankind’s greatest invention? Is it our built environment?

Man’s oldest invention and one that every human enjoys to some extent is the protective built environment. Humans liberate themselves from the unfavorable effects of the natural environment by an ability to construct and maintain a protective environment. We maintain shelter against enemies including weather, extreme climate, storms, predators, disease, and exposure by the habitats we build, maintain, and clean.

The primary human habitat is a built environment and a sub-compartment of the natural environment. This built environment is the environment most humans occupy more than 90 percent of their time. It dominates the quality of human life and health. It is the environment over which we have the most control. The most important control is primarily through the process of cleaning.

Cleaning is a Science

To understand the important role of cleaning and the contributions it makes to human existence, we need to know three things:

  •  What is cleaning?
  • How does it it work?
  • Why it is important?

Cleaning science includes several subjects . They must be properly understood if we are to understand the field of cleaning and its impact on health? To properly discuss “cleaning,” we must emphasize the objectives and reasons for cleaning. We must also understand and emphasize their importance and value. The science of cleaning includes the following topics:

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1. Effective Cleaning Reduces Risk.Cleaning creates a healthy condition by reducing exposure and risk. It enables sanitation, it breaks the chain of infection and prevents illness. In addition to human health, cleaning protects valuable materials and equipment and maintains the value of property. Cleaning is insurance that prevents crisis and reduces the full range of costs related to property and real estate. Cleaning also manages waste and contributes to environmental protection and sustainability.

 

2. Chemistry of Cleaning. Many aspects of cleaning are based on chemical action. Knowing how chemicals work is fundamental to cleaning. The effect they have on various forms of matter, their protective or risk-reduction benefits , the toxic, unwanted, or unintended effects on humans or the natural environment are all important parts of cleaning science.

 

3. Cleaning in Special Environments. Cleaning is the organized process of removing or repositioning unwanted matter so human activities can take place in a particular built environment. Different environments require different cleaning processes.

 

4. Measuring Cleaning Effectiveness.Cleaning is measured in terms of the quantity of unwanted matter removed. Dr. Berry’s 2006 study at the University of North Carolina showed that effective cleaning when consistently implemented is cost effective and can lead to measurable environmental improvements as measured by reductions in particles, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and biological pollutants. The assessment of cleaning effectiveness can be accomplished through process audits, environmental sampling and measurement of dusts, fungi, bacteria, and indoor-air particulate matter. Sampling and measurement answers the question, “What happens when you clean?”

 

5. Determining Cleaning Data. In recent years, there have emerged comprehensive programs for efficacy testing of cleaning processes, products and technologies. Too frequently, limited or unsubstantiated claims are made with regard to the attributes of specific cleaning products. In the absence of process or systems testing, these claims cannot be validated. Without testing, tracking effectiveness, outside auditing of environmental sustainability, human activities may be polluting the built environment rather than cleaning it.

 

6. The Professional Language of Cleaning. Every profession and science has a unique vocabulary. A language, a set of definitions, concepts, and terms. For cleaning to truly become a professional, science-based industry recognized by government, health organizations, and other critical constituents, the language of cleaning science must be organized in a systematic manner. This includes seeing cleaning terminology in its proper hierarchy; agreeing on terms; and thereafter publishing and accepting those terms as norms. Antiquated cleaning and maintenance terms should be reviewed, assessed, rejuvenated, or rejected and replaced.

 

7. Cleaning Management. Effective cleaning starts with educated management competency, professionalism, and technical leadership. A well-managed and effective cleaning program includes the following quality-management components: process identification, evaluation, and continuous improvement; management by fact and knowledge for improvement; structured problem solving; effective communication at all levels; valuing human resources; benchmarking and performance measurement; and quality tools and technology. The effectiveness of the cleaning program resides in a well-defined and comprehensive cleaning objective; planned, scheduled, systematic cleaning workloading; the use of specialized, benchmarked cleaning equipment and technology that is tested and evaluated for effectiveness, best practices and safety. Most importantly there needs to be a focused and specialized basic and inservice training provided to the cleaners.

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Cleaning for health first, to be an achievable goal, demands that our industry have a firm foundation in science. It is only through this process—of benchmarking, auditing, disciplined research, critical peer review, and open presentation—that the cleaning industry will receive the recognition it deserves as a science-based profession that is not only focused upon, but able to provide, a healthy indoor environment.

Are Dirty Schools Making Kids Sick?

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Two seemingly unrelated events were the subject of news stories in the early weeks of 2012. The first occurred on January 12, when the Vermont Senate gave final approval to Senate bill #92, a bill that requires public schools and “approved independent schools” to ensure that only environmentally preferable cleaning products are used to clean the schools. The bill will now make its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature which will transform the bill into law. Vermont’s state owned and leased buildings have already transitioned to “green” cleaning products as a result of the Clean State Program created by an executive order signed by Governor Douglas in 2004.

Banning Germ Killers in Schools

But the perhaps, unintended consequence of this legislation action goes further. It bans disinfectants and sanitizers in public schools. Is this really the lengths Vermont want to go to be “green”? If so it joins the states like California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Neveda, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington. It is relevant to note that this legislation has been driven not by the medical community and public health experts but by state procurement officers and purchasing agents in league with the janitorial supply industry.

The Vermont bill allows for the use of disinfectants only when:

  1. Blood, body fluids or fecal soiling is present on any surface; (ignoring that most diseases are spread by invisible germs called pathogenic microorganisms and not visible accumulations listed in the Vermont legislation).
  2.  The State makes a case specific determination that failure to use a disinfectant would create a risk to public health and safety (like MRSA, Avian Flu, SARS, Whooping cough, measles, and the common cold).

Two days later, on Saturday January 14, Dr. Sanjay Gupta CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, aired a report in his series on Toxic America about the sorry, environmental health of schools in the United States. More schools than ever are making kids and school staff sick. While it’s tough to estimate how many toxic schools are in America, most research shows that at least a third or more of U.S. Schools have issues like mold, dust and other indoor air problems serious enough to cause respiratory illnesses like asthma in students and staff. Healthy Schools Network reports that as many as 55 million U.S. children may be attending public and private K-12 schools where poor air quality, hazardous chemicals and other unhealthy conditions can make everyone sick.

The U.S. EPA estimates that at least half of all schools in this country have indoor air quality problems caused by toxic chemical and pesticide use, chemical spills, mold infestations, asbestos, radon, lead in paint and drinking water, heavy metals and persistent toxics, such as mercury, CCA and PCBs.

Other highlights of Dr. Gupta’s story included:

  • A story about a woman who claims school air sickened her son for 53 days last school year
  • New York study finds correlation between building maintenance and illness
  • Studies estimate one-third of U.S. schools have mold, dust and other indoor air problems
  • Connecticut school so plagued with mold officials decided to tear it down

Now the Rest of the Story

Missing from both the Vermont and Dr. Gupta’s story was the recognition of the importance of cleaning and sanitation. There was no recognition that a proven process of cleaning and disinfections leads to improved health, comfort and educational performance.

In 2007, Michael Berry, PhD, wrote a booklet Healthy Schools are Clean, Dry and Productive. Largely ignored, this essay provides leadership for both the “school is making my kids sick” and the “green cleaning” groups. Berry points out that the “importance of a healthy school environment in enhancing the learning process is described in many studies. There is a direct connection between environmental quality, comfort, health and well-being, positive attitudes and behavior, and higher levels of education performance. The quality of the school environment shapes attitudes of students, teachers and staff. Attitudes affect teaching and learning behavior. Behavior affects performance. Educational performance determines future outcomes of individuals and society as a whole.”

Berry wrote:

We need to recognize that the main causes of environmentally related illness in schools are water, food sources for the various bio-pollutants, non-existent or ineffective cleaning, and poor ventilation. We should guard against becoming myopic when it comes to assessing environmental risk in school environments. Too often, we spend a large amount of time looking at air quality alone, especially in recent times with regard to mold. This narrow focus is necessary but by no means sufficient to protect the health of our children and their teachers and the quality of our school environments.

Should the states be banning disinfectants and sanitizers?

To protect health in schools, we need to take a close look at total exposure, and not solely focus on the air route of exposure. Bacteria that come from direct contact with other humans and surfaces cause over 80% of environmentally related illness. The main routes of exposure are dermal and ingestion, not air. Even air poses its most serious threats by delivering bacteria and viruses to sensitive receptors. Sufficiently concentrated airborne mold spore and other airborne allergens, such as cockroach antigen, frequently trigger allergic reactions in sensitized individuals, particularly asthmatics.

Disinfectant and sanitizers are by definition toxic. We use them to “kill” pathogens before they make humans sick. The purchasing agents and cleaning chemical supply marketing organizations who promote the complete ban on poisons and toxins in schools don’t understand what Paracelsus, the father of toxicology, declared in the 14th century “The dose makes the poison.” Using sanitizers are fundamental to food preparation, dishwashing and serving meals. Disinfection of potential cross-contamination points in lavatories, and other common touch points in schools are basic to proper cleaning and school hygiene.

Trainers should expect and be prepared to discuss the risk/benefit analysis of proper cleaning and sanitation. (OS1) has an unequalled dedication to environmental issues. But it also values the benefits associated with properly killing pathogenic microorganisms in the public facilities entrusted to us. The State of Vermont and Dr. Gupta should know about the following scientific studies on the importance of cleaning:

  • Frank Porter Graham Study
  • Alexander Krilov Study

They should also be promoting the benefits and the reported results by workers and patrons in (OS1) facilities like Dixon Middle School and University of Michigan. In 2012, the (OS1) user group will be focusing on three areas to “Protect Yourself” in facilities. They are:

  1. The reduction of asthma-type symptoms due to the performance level of (OS1) that provides negligible dust following the UNC cleaning protocol.
  2. Focus on proper use and application of germicidal chemicals.
  3. The opportunity to dramatically reduce humidity in schools by strategically using portable air drying equipment.

These three strategies are a messaging opportunity for the (OS1) trainers, (OS1) support manufacturers (particularly ProTeam, PortionPac & Dri-Eaz) and the Simon Institute.

Austin Convention Center gets LEED Gold with the help of (OS1)

December 12, 2011. Austin, TexasThe Austin Convention Center is proud to announce that it has been awarded LEED® Gold Certification for Existing Buildings, established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is the internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, which was developed by the USGBC.

LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human environmental health: sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. There are several types of certifications, but two primary ones for commercial facilities – New Construction (NC) and Existing Buildings (EB).

“We are tremendously proud of this achievement,” said Mark Tester, director of the Austin Convention Center Department. “Not only is the Austin Convention Center bringing economic benefits to the city of Austin, it is also a model of sustainability that will continue to set the standard in the industry. Credit certainly goes to the convention center staff’s dedication and commitment over the past four years to obtain the gold level, under the guidance of David Thomas, ACC Operations Manager, LEED-Accredited Professional and Certified Energy Manager.”

“Austin Convention Center’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, U.S. Green Building Council president, CEO and founding chair. “The work of innovative building projects such as the Austin Convention Center is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement.”

Austin Convention Center’s sustainable design features and practices include:

  • 66% of all waste diverted from landfill
  • Composted 250,000 lbs. of organic waste in 2011
  • Reduced our carbon footprint by 93% since 2007
  • Facility powered by Wind Energy
  • Reduced electric consumption by 20%
  • Installed LED lighting in all meeting rooms
  • Carpet made from recycled materials, generating zero emissions and installed without using glue
  • Reduced indoor water usage by 32%
  • Replaced 75% of all toilets to low flow fixtures
  • Implemented the (OS1) cleaning program to enhance, standardize green cleaning practices
  • Crushed glass, native and adaptive plants is used in landscaping to minimize water consumption
  • Installed Electric Car charging stations

“We are proud to have one of the greenest convention centers in the country, said Bob Lander, president and CEO of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This achievement signifies Austin’s commitment to the environment – and will further Austin’s reputation as a premier destination for meetings and conventions.”

The Austin Convention Center is located in the heart of the capital of Texas, eight miles from the airport and a short distance from 6,000 downtown hotel rooms. The convention center is just down the street from the city’s vibrant nightlife. As the Live Music Capital of the World®, Austin echoes with the sound of country, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, jazz and Tejano in over 200 venues, any night of the week.

A leading destination in Green meetings and one of the country’s most technologically advanced facilities, the convention center stretches over six city blocks and 881,400 gross square feet of space. It offers 370,957 square feet of meeting space including 246,097 square feet of column-free exhibit space divisible into five contiguous halls. Ballrooms of all sizes are included in meeting package options. The 43,300 square foot upper level Grand Ballroom offers space for over 3,000 to dine in style. The Center boasts 54 meetings room and show offices, located on all four levels, with over 58,000 square feet.

Over 7 million people have attended 3,000+ events, including over 700 conventions, at the award-winning Austin Convention Center since it opened in 1992. The convention center expanded in 2002, doubling its size. More information about the Austin Convention Center and its LEED certification can be found on its website at www.austinconventioncenter.com.

Dixon Middle School Teacher Praises (OS1)

by Jeff Hawkins
Provo City School District – Head Custodian/ (OS1) Certified Trainer

As a Head Custodian at a Middle School, I often have teachers approach me with comments and concerns about their classrooms as well as the school in general. I would like to share just such an encounter that happened in April of 2011.

I was walking down the hall at Dixon Middle School when Ms. Giblon, our band teacher, called my name from down the corridor. Ms. Giblon has had a lot of health problems and has been absent from school quite a bit this year. She has been experiencing unexplained migraine headaches and episodes where she “blacks out.” I stopped as she said she needed to talk to me.

To be honest, I expected to hear a concern or complaint about something that required my attention. To my pleasant surprise, she shared the accompanying story with me. I am truly inspired by her story and feel genuinely proud that the (OS1) cleaning program that I have been asked to oversee in Provo City School District is having such a profound impact on one of our teachers’ lives. Stories like these make all of the hard work worth it and are a true testament to the positive results of the (OS1) cleaning program.

Letter to Jeff Hawkins from a Teacher at Dixon Middle School

“I have been recently diagnosed with severe migraine headaches and my neurologist has been trying to help me discover and eliminate
things that may trigger them. She told me to try eliminating household cleaners with heavy chemical smells from my home as they may be one of the possible triggers. I have been cleaning with “natural” cleaners in my house for a few weeks now. I am also taking medication and trying to eliminate a few other things but I have not had a migraine or blackout incident since I switched cleaning routines. I have also had less allergy trouble.

I don’t know if the lack of exposure to heavy chemical cleaners at home and at school are the only reason I feel better but I have noticed that when I go into other schools and businesses and smell the chemicals from cleaners that I sometimes get the nauseous/lightheaded feeling I was getting before I was having my migraine/blackout incidents. I can’t stand to walk down the cleaner aisle at the store any more because it just gags me.

So anyway, I just want to thank you for being willing to pilot this new cleaning program at Dixon and for using safer cleaning products. I appreciate what an awesome job you do keeping our school clean and safe. It does make a difference!”

~Ms. Giblon
Dixon Middle School