We all know a healthy school environment is vital for learning. When you consider that between students, teachers, and staff, one in five Californians spend their day at a school, it becomes clear just how important school environments are to the health of families all across the state. Unfortunately, environmental health concerns in California’s classrooms are all too common, especially in low-income communities and communities of color – often the same communities we find the most glaring health inequities in conditions such as asthma.
Ironically, some of these concerns stem from the very products used to keep the school clean. School children and staff are unnecessarily exposed to chemicals commonly found in traditional cleaning products. These chemicals have been linked to asthma and other respiratory problems, cancer, reproductive and neurological harm, and hormone disruption, as well as environmental concerns such as water pollution, smog, and damage to the ozone layer.