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The Scary Link Between Cleaning Products and School Absence

May 1st, 2016 by Lilian Radke

schools-daycare-facilities-cleaning

A recent news story shared a nightmare situation for parents. Two 7 year old students suffered chemical burns after using the restroom at their elementary school. These second-degree burns were caused by a harsh disinfectant used to clean the toilets at the school. Sadly, this is only one of several stories that show the deep impact the cleaning industry can have to improve the wellbeing of students. Other areas of opportunity are to prevent cold and flu viruses spreading, asthma triggers, and allergens. These are the main reasons that children are missing more school than ever. By understanding the link between proper cleaning products and procedures and how that could help lessen absences; teachers, school administrators and the professional cleaning industry can work together to improve.

Using chemicals that are toxic can result in dangers for those coming into contact with them, even indirectly. Harsh chemicals can cause burns, damage or irritate tissue, and cause cancer. Improperly combining chemicals can also cause extremely dangerous vapor clouds into the air. If the people cleaning are not aware of proper cleaning procedures, they could unknowingly create a respiratory damaging gas. For example, in a common bathroom there may be tile on the floor with mold in the grouting. Most common mold killers contain chlorine bleach. In that same bathroom there is probably a mirror above the sink. If you use a typical window cleaner containing ammonia to clean the mirror then an extremely dangerous compound has been created by the combination of chlorine and ammonia. A professional commercial cleaning company should take care to use the right products which are both strong and safe. If you are currently working with a professional or considering hiring a Massachusetts janitorial service make sure to ask about the chemicals they use.

Beyond the products that are used, there still may be hidden dangers within the school which contribute to many preventable absences. According to a study done in 2015, Mapping the Early Attendance Gap: Charting a Course for School Success, 14 million school absences per year are for asthma and other serious respiratory conditions. Many older schools and schools without the proper maintenance support may have mold, mildew and other silent triggers which cause respiratory conditions including asthma and allergy. There are no EPA or government standards for mold levels, making it difficult to prove that a building is in need of remediation efforts. The best way to prevent mold is consistent cleaning practices and control of moisture.

School administrators and the professional cleaning industry can work together to reduce the number of avoidable absences by properly and thoroughly cleaning schools. The health of children should always be taken very seriously and especially in our schools where they spend a large amount of time.

 

Contact us for more information about how to improve your school’s cleaning program.

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