One Cloth at a Time

By Adem Lewis / in , , /

Have you ever actually seen someone in person
with bad asthma? It’s terrible. You know, it closes up my airway is what it
does. And so, you know, the whole breathing, speaking
thing, is a problem. Bonnie has asthma, a chronic lung disease. The Work-Related Asthma Prevention Program
has found that cleaning products, sanitizers and disinfectants, including disinfectant
wipes, can worsen or even cause asthma. Like in Ed’s case. Ed had to go to the emergency room when he
had trouble breathing after a cleaning chemical was used in his classroom. Now he has asthma, and custodians switched
to cleaning products that are safer. And asthma isn’t the only health problem. Some chemicals in cleaning products have been
linked with health effects like burns to the eye, skin rashes, headaches, reproductive
harm, or cancer. Did you know that sanitizers and disinfectants,
including disinfectant wipes are actually pesticides and it’s against the law for children
to use them? It shocks me that we actually are using these
chemicals in the classroom. And you read the back of some of these wipe
products, and I don’t understand why that’s actually even being used in classrooms with
little children breathing it all the time. And I think kids are really sensitive to chemicals. So, from my point of view, it would be a best
interest for me not to expose them. We all know classrooms get dirty… cleaning
is a safe and healthy option for removing dirt and germs. However, sometimes germ-killing disinfectants
might be needed, like to clean up blood or vomit, and that’s the job for custodians trained
to handle these powerful chemicals. In addition, anyone in school who uses a pesticide
must take a Healthy Schools Act Training So we offered schools microfiber cloths as
a safer alternative. They are effective for simple clean-up jobs. I use them everywhere. When I’m using the cloths, it’s not kicking
up so much dust that I’m breathing in. So it clings to the microfiber, so it really
does work well. And I use them to clean my smart board, and
I use them on this board, and then I keep a couple around the sink because then the
kids can just grab them for whatever they need over there. And then I just do basic dusting with them. Also, the desks are great. They seem to have just like enough of sort
of a rough texture, that really gets the dirt off. So, I give them to the kids to wash things,
dry things, and so, all kinds of ways to clean up the classroom. When cloths are available, we find schools
are less likely to use cleaning chemicals, disinfectant wipes, and bleach. Another benefit to using microfiber cloths
is in keeping disinfectant wipes out of the landfill. Cloths do need to be washed, and schools can
be creative, by asking for help from the school community, custodians, school staff, or volunteers. It’s totally worth it for me. Because I’m not breathing it in, I’m not exposing
kids to these chemicals, these asthma triggers. I just want to say, you know, thank you for
trying to get rid of the chemicals. And when everybody is kind of doing this chemical
free, it helps people like me. And there’s more and more kids with asthma
and allergies all the time. So any little thing helps, so thank you for
doing this.

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