Newark Star-Ledger  [Printer-friendly version]
January 13, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: Outgoing N.J. Governor Richard Codey has
directed all New Jersey state agencies to use least-harmful cleaning
products -- a big boost for small firms making 'green' alternative

By Alexander Lane

Gov. Richard Codey ordered state agencies yesterday to use less toxic
cleaning products, much to the delight of environmentalists in the

The directive was a marquee endorsement for the plant-based, low-
impact cleaners that have begun elbowing their way onto supermarket
shelves among the big-name ammonia and bleach products.

"Today we can breathe easier knowing our workplaces will be safer and
our environment will be cleaner," Codey said while standing beside
Deirdre Imus, an environmental activist and wife of radio personality
Don Imus.

All state agencies and public authorities will have to use less toxic
cleaning products if they can find ones that still protect public
health and safety, according to the executive order Codey signed in

The Department of the Treasury has to report to the governor and the
legislature within a year on how well the state is doing with the
order, he said.

"If it's implemented it's an important role model," said Rick Hind,
director of the toxics campaign for Greenpeace. "These products are
safer for you and better for the environment."

"Green" household cleaners are a tiny fraction of the market, but
brands like Seventh Generation, Method, Mrs. Meyer's, Earth Friendly
Products and Ecover are getting easier to find.

Many traditional cleaning products contain chemicals that people
should try to avoid coming into contact with, like ammonia, bleach,
phosphates and the catch-all category "fragrance," which can mean just
about anything, said Paul McRandle, senior research editor for The
Green Guide.

McRandle suggested consumers use classic cleaners like vinegar, lemon
juice, hot water, mild soap and baking soda where possible, and try
some of the growing number of green cleaners as well.

"I tried some Seventh Generation dishwasher detergent, and for me it
just didn't work," he said.

Imus, founder and president of the Environmental Center for Pediatric
Oncology at Hackensack Medical Center, said she was delighted with
Codey's action.

"An executive order is the first step that can have far-reaching
consequences for environmental health, and it's an excellent
opportunity for other governors," she said.

Alexander Lane covers the environment. He may be reached at or (973) 392-1790.

Copyright 2006 The Star Ledger