Green cleaning parties educate and activate concerned consumers MISSOULA, Mont. -- This Earth Week, Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) will be organizing people to get green, clean and political. Their growing Green Cleaning Party movement will take on a new mission in 2010—to pass the Safe Chemicals Act a bill introduced last Thursday that will help ensure cleaning product makers are not using chemicals that may be harmful to human health.
WVE, a national women’s environmental health group, started Green Cleaning Parties to give people the tools they needed to make their own green cleaners at home and avoid the chemicals used in cleaners that have been linked to long-term health problems. Since their launch in 2008, concerned consumers have organized over 13,000 people across the country in schools, daycares, libraries and homes. As a result, more and more cleaning product companies are starting to disclose the chemicals in their products, or replace them with safer alternatives. WVE released a report in 2007, Household Hazards (read it here), which found several chemicals in common household cleaning products have been linked to reproductive and developmental harm, and even asthma, the most common serious chronic childhood disease, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
As part of the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Coalition, a nationwide effort to pass smart policies that protect consumers from toxic chemicals, WVE is using Earth Week Green Cleaning Parties to highlight the need for better chemicals policy in the U.S. “People are really concerned about the harmful chemicals used in cleaners—the fact that we don’t even know what we’re being exposed to is an example of what’s wrong with our current chemical policy system,” says Erin Switalski, Executive Director. “We’re encouraging people to host these parties to raise support for federal policies that protect us from toxic chemicals—it’s just common sense.”
There are more than 80,000 chemicals in use on the consumer marketplace today. Since 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the current law that manages chemicals in the U.S., has only evaluated 200 of those chemicals for safety, and only five have been restricted for use. The Safe Chemicals Act would reform this law to require evaluating the safety of chemicals to our health and the environment, taking the most dangerous chemicals off the market entirely, and evaluating a chemical by considering the impact of chemical exposure for the most vulnerable populations, like pregnant women and children.
“There’s no reason to include toxic ingredients in products that consumers use on a daily basis when safe and equally effective alternatives exist,” says Alexandra Scranton, WVE Director of Science and Research.
Several studies have shown that regular household vinegar, which is one of the main ingredients in WVE’s homemade cleaner recipes, is as effective or nearly as effective as commercial cleaners in eliminating microbes like E.coli from surfaces and sponges, effectively eliminating between 90-98 percent of bacteria.
Green Cleaning Parties have successfully become an organizing tool to give concerned consumers both a place to have fun and share environmentally friendly cleaning tips, and a way to take action and lobby for change on the corporate and policy level. All homemade recipes have been tested by both consumers and professional cleaners and were found to be economical and just as effective as their branded counterparts.
Go to www.womenandenvrionment.org to learn more about Green Cleaning Parties and how to get involved, and visit the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition at www.saferchemicals.org to take action to support the Safe Chemicals Act.
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