Rachel's Precaution Reporter #47, July 19, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: In early 2005, New York Governor George Pataki signed Executive Order #134 requiring state agencies to use "green" cleaning products. In August 2005 this was extended by legislation to include all schools in New York, public and private.]

New York state will soon adopt regulations to limit exposure of students and staff to toxic cleaning and maintenance products in all New York schools, public and private. The change has resulted from relentless pressure by the Healthy Schools Network, Inc.

It began when Governor George Pataki issued Executive Order #134 in January 2005. The state legislature carried the idea further, passing Education Law Section 9, Article 409 in June 2006, directing state agencies to adopt regulations intended to protect students and staff from toxic cleaning products.

State agencies are now writing regulations defining what the new law means. Because of the bizarre rule-making system we have developed in the U.S., citizens seeking health-protective regulations are now opposed by corporations who are working overtime to increase the allowable exposures of students and staff to toxicants. As always, the resulting regulations will most likely not be truly health-protective but will be a compromise between the health of children and staff of New York schools and the "right" of the corporations to turn a buck.

The draft regulations that were issued for public comment this spring (the comment period closed in early May) proposed that the state would adopt Green Seal standards for several lines of products, including general purpose cleaners, paper towels, toilet paper, etc. In other words, no chlorine. Citizens asked for more, including the elimination of hormone-disrupting chemicals and fragrances.

A free Guide to Healthier Cleaning and Maintenance: Products and Practices for Schools is available here.


Claire L. Barnett, MBA, Executive Director Healthy Schools Network, Inc. and Coordinator, Coalition for Healthier Schools


202-543-7555, 518-462-0632

Mail: 773 Madison Avenue Albany, NY 12208 or 110 Maryland Ave, NE, Ste 505 Washington, DC 20002

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