In 2012, the CDC’s annual assessment of schools discussed green cleaning for the first time ever. “Children are more vulnerable than adults to hazardous environmental exposures because, compared to adults, they breathe more air, eat more food, and drink more water per pound of body weight,” the report states. “A school that…[is] free of hazardous chemicals, and clean is arguably best equipped to support student and teacher health, learning, and overall productivity.”
And while most of this is good news—more than 36% of districts now purchase low-VOC paints, cleaners and floor coverings, 55% require that schools test drinking water for lead, and more than 50% pursue an integrated pest management policy designed to reduce the use of pesticides—some is not. Especially the news about pink soap.
I’ve joined forces with actress Alysia Reiner of “Orange is the New Black” to launch a petition to get toxic pink soap out of our schools! Will you sign it? Today, nearly 70% of schools require district approval before purchasing cleaning and maintenance products such as disinfectants and air fresheners. Yet there is no caveat that these products be free of toxic chemicals.
Which brings us to pink soap. You know that slimy, highly perfumed stuff that’s in most school bathrooms? Here are just a few of its toxic chemical ingredients:
• Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a skin irritant linked to contact dermatitis.
• “Fragrance” is a catch-all term that can mean as many as 2,000 different toxic chemicals, many of them endocrine distuptors linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity.
• DMDM Hydantoin releases formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen, and has been linked to cancer and skin irritation; Japan restricts its use in cosmetics.
If they follow recommended hand washing precautions to avoid illness, by using pink soap our children are exposed at least five times each day to these toxic chemicals.
Let’s get toxic pink soap out of our schools! Companies like Earth Friendly Products make healthier soap that can be purchased in bulk. But school administrators need to be encouraged to make the switch.
To that end, I’ve joined forces with actress Alysia Reiner of “Orange is the New Black” to launch a petition asking Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of School Administrators, a union that represents public school principals, vice principals, administrators and supervisors, to identify pink soap as toxic and direct school decision-makers to purchase non-toxic soap for our kids. Will you sign it?
From my YouTube channel…