Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that his legislation (S.5435) to promote the use of environmentally sensitive cleaning and maintenance products in schools has been signed by the Governor. The legislation was introduced at the request of Governor Pataki.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that human exposure to air pollutants indoors can be two to five times, and occasionally up to 100 times, higher than outdoor levels. Because children, teachers and other school staff members spend so much time in school buildings they are vulnerable to chemicals from cleaners, waxes, deodorizers, and other maintenance products.
This health threat may result in costs in terms of staff time and effort, cleanup costs and school closings. These chemicals also potentially damage publicly owned wastewater treatment sites and may pollute lakes or streams.
Cleaning supplies similar in form and function are now available with no or lowered concentrations of potentially harmful chemicals. The Office of General Services, through central state purchasing contracts, would coordinate the purchase of these products so the most competitive prices could be provided to both public and private schools. The prices for the environmentally sensitive cleaning products is comparable to those now in use.
"I am pleased that Governor Pataki has signed this measure which will improve air quality in our schools," said Senator Saland. "Schools will now be able to seek out environmentally sensitive cleaning products so they may eliminate these potentially harmful chemicals."