Americans spend 90% of their time indoors—and much of that at work. According to the EPA, air pollution is up to five times worse inside than outside. Harsh cleaning chemicals contribute to the problem. In fact, one-third of the cleaning products that janitors handle contain chemicals that can cause skin and eye irritation, cancer, or reproductive disorders. And approximately 37 million Americans suffer from chemical sensitivity, so increased absenteeism and health costs can stem from using compounds that evaporate harmful materials into the air. Eco-cleaners are comparably priced and much safer for workers; the only downside is that it's a little harder to get our fave versions in bulk.
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Green Cleaning Pollution Prevention Calculator
Estimate the eco- benefits of switching to greener janitorial supplies and services.
Center for a New American Dream
List of green institutional cleaning supplies for big businesses.
Shaklee Get Clean
This maker of biodegradable, chlorine-free cleaners offers an auto-ship program for businesses.
If 10,000 office buildings switch to green cleaning products, we'd eliminate the weight of more than 1.7 million laptops a year in nasty chemical cleaners.
Jennifer Boulden is the cofounder of Idealbite.com, a free daily email offering bite-sized ideas for "light green living."
A version of this article appeared in the September 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine.