Connecticut has become the third state, after New York and Illinois, to require public schools to use green cleaning supplies. In June, Gov. Jodi Rell signed a bill that had received broad support from health professionals, parents, educators, and the environmental community. Cleaning products used in schools will need to carry the Green Seal or Eco Logo certifications after the law takes effect on July 1, 2011, although districts will be allowed to use existing stocks of supplies.
Proponents of the new law had testified in the legislature that nearly one-quarter of cleaning chemicals used in schools are toxic and have a detrimental affect on indoor air quality. All state-owned buildings, including vocational-technical schools and universities, have been required to use green cleaning supplies since Gov. Rell issued an executive order in 2006 and the state legislature passed a law the following year.
Supporters say the cost of environmentally friendly cleaning products has gone down so much that these products are now cost-competitive. The nonpartisan state Office of Fiscal Analysis agrees, saying that the new law is “revenue neutral” and is therefore not an unfunded state mandate. Some districts that have already made the switch say they have even saved money.
“This signals the end of harsh, toxic chemical cleaners used around generations of schoolchildren,” Gov. Rell said at the signing ceremony. “It is about time we cleared the air.”