Our Commitment And Indoor Air Quality
Guide to Innovative Safer and Greener Environment Friendly Cleaning
The purpose of this guide is to provide the Building Owner/Manager with the details that will assist them in establishing and maintaining a Green Building indoor environment. It will also focus on developing an overall pollution prevention plan. This Green guideline is the first in a number of notices that will identify some of the issues relating to custodial operations. In some instances we will take the liberty to illustrate how we at RTS Inc. addressed the problem or circumstance in relation to our own line of low VOC, Safer, and Greener cleaning chemicals.
Without defining some of these important issues facing the maintenance/cleaning operations there is no starting point, it is fundamentally important to identify and breakdown some of the terminology.
PH: Look for controlled or moderate pH wherever possible, there have been giant improvements in neutral pH cleaners recently which allow the cleaning performance to equal that of the older high Phosphate cleaners of yesterday. In general most All Purpose Cleaners should not have a pH in excess of 10.5 while degreasers should not exceed 11.0. The science is available to attain these lower pH ranges without lowering performance.
Hazardous ngredients are clearly identified in MSDS and OSHA data sheets, so whenever possible try to utilize a product with the fewest listed ingredients.
Non-Carcinogenics: Avoid any product that identifies a potential known or suspected Carcinogen ingredient.
Skin and Eye Irritant: Select products that have the least dramatic concerns for eye or skin damage.
Oral Toxicity: Select products that have a LD/50 above 5 grams per kilogram.
Non-Reactive: Choose products that have the least potential for reacting when mixed with other cleaning products whenever possible.
Respiratory Concerns: Avoid products that require special protective equipment demands. Always refer to, and follow the recommendations for protective respiratory gear listed on the Material Safety Data Sheet.
Biodegradable: This is the measure of a products ability to be absorbed back into the environment. Most cleaning products at some point over an extended period of time can term biodegradable. Thus it is preferable to have a product that is termed readily biodegradable and tested for biodegradability. In the extreme sense, radio active waste is biodegradable, you only have to give it 1000 years, this demonstrates just how misused the term Biodegradable can be.
Ozone Depleting Compounds: (OD) are considered a major global cause of environment warming. So wherever possible Chlorofluorocarbons should be avoided as well as other chlorinated solvents still found in many workplaces.
Volatile Organic Compounds: (VOCs) are fundamental in forming smog -- a common form of air pollution. Wherever possible consider changing to water based products. For example a Window Cleaner such as Windex Original Formula, typically contains alcohol and in some cases Ammonia. Both of these ingredients are heavy VOC contributors. Other products that contribute to VOC levels are the D’limonene type solvent-based cleaners, which were developed to replace some of the more harmful solvents, which existed 20 years ago. By now, technology has made giant leaps, in that any solvent which produces VOC cannot and should not be utilized.
Chemical Inventory: At the earliest opportunity Building Managers/owners should have their cleaning chemical storage area audited for safety and user friendly products. We at RTS Inc would be happy to take part in such an effort to update and improve your chemical inventories.
Elimination of Health Risk Potential
After the completion of the Chemical Inventory, one of the first tasks for a safer healthier indoor environment, is to verify that all chemicals are featured in an MSDS binder right in the custodial area, utilizing up to date current MSDS. As well as making sure that all containers are properly labelled to meet OSHA health requirements.
The elimination of toxic or the reduction of toxic chemicals whereever possible is the next task. Replacing these items with safer environmentally friendlier preferable products will go a long way towards improving the indoor air quality. The replacement of heavy-duty cleaning products should be equally important, for example, why use a VOC contaminating cleaner when a non-VOC product will do an equally effective job. Non Solvent including Orange or Citrus based cleaners as we mentioned earlier is basically 1980’s technology and has no merit in your inventory. Whereever possible eliminate the Corrosive Items in your inventory. To illustrate this we would like to mention that a daily or high frequency maintenance program where daily attention is given to washroom toilet and urinals do not require high acid value chemicals.
RTS has an acid replacement program offering safer products of equal low pH to acids. The safety features of this acid replacement product has the added benefit of non-burning to skin. In fact it is classified on our MSDS as being a mild irritant to tissue. THERE IS NO REASON FOR ACIDS IN YOUR WORKPLACE in 2013.