American Legislative Exchange Council  [Printer-friendly version]
November 1, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: The chemical industry wants us all to
continue using toxic cleaning products in homes, schools and public


Environmental activists are seeking to eliminate or greatly reduce the
usage of cleaning chemicals such as bleach in public transportation
facilities, schools, and other areas government controlled facilities.
Activists propose alternative biological agents or "green" cleaners
that are less effective and more expensive.

The asserted rationale for removing chemical cleaners from public
facilities is that man-made chemicals allegedly aggravate or trigger
allergy and asthma symptoms. The asserted rationale is flawed because
allergens and asthma triggers such as decaying insect bodies,
cockroach feces, mold, mildew, and dust mites thrive in the absence of
chemical cleaners and cause far more illness and breathing
difficulties than the cleaners do.

Talking Points:

* Allergens and asthma triggers such as mold, mildew, dust
mites, cockroach feces, and decaying insect bodies are far more
harmful to human health and respiratory breathing than are the
federally regulated cleaning chemicals that eliminate them.

* Cleaning chemicals and consumer products are already required
to have Material Safety Data Sheets or product labeling that alerts
consumers to any associated hazards and the appropriate personal
protective equipment needed to use the products in a safe manner.

* Claims that cleaning chemicals at levels deemed safe by
federal regulators substantially aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms
are scientifically unsubstantiated, while scientific research
conclusively links mold, mildew, vermin, and viruses to allergies,
asthma, and other health risks.

* According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, one of
the growing environmental issues facing schools and public facilities
today is the unchecked growth of mold and mildew.

* Studies show that 20 percent of children are allergic to
cockroaches, and exhibit symptoms of allergy or asthma when cockroach
residue is present.

Additional Sources:

Report: No Evidence that Cleaning Leads to Allergy Rise, Soap and
Detergent Association Website, May 20, 2004

Stanwell-Smith, R. and Bloomfield, S., The Hygiene Hypothesis and
Implications for Home Hygiene