Back in 2018, I tagged along on a sales call to an elementary school to learn about chemical free cleaning. Being new to the technology, I was still quite skeptical about the need for sustainable cleaning solutions (after all, cleaning products have been around for a long time and isn’t “clean” a good thing?) But visiting that school completely changed my perspective.
Walking through the doors of the school, I was hit with the strong smell of chlorine. I remember thinking I didn’t know elementary schools had swimming pools.
We would soon find out that the chemical scent was not coming from the school’s “state of the art aquatics program,” but instead was the result of a total school bleach treatment. To my shock, the school nurse informed us that chemical residue left in the air and on surfaces was so intense that students with asthma were instructed to stay home. Coming from an insurance risk management background, I immediately thought, “What about the kids, faculty, and staff who don’t have asthma? They still have to breathe this stuff in! There’s no way this can be good for them.”
My perspective on cleaning had changed. Visiting that school made me realize our frequent exposure to harmful cleaning chemicals will cause long-term health consequences—especially for those facility workers who are in contact with this stuff every day! After that, I wanted to learn more about the harms of cleaning with chemicals, and I wanted to push for change.
Important things I learned about cleaning chemicals include:
- Cleaning chemicals can be toxic and corrosive. If mixed, they can become highly dangerous and lethal.
- Cleaning chemicals can irritate the skin, eyes, throat, and lungs. Some are suspected of causing asthma, breast cancer, decrease in fertility, and birth defects in mice.
- Chemicals don’t just disappear after we’re done cleaning. Instead, they build up on surfaces and stay in the air. They are absorbed through our skin and into our lungs.
- Excess chemicals go down the drain into our water systems and landfills. They harm our wildlife and find their way back into our food supply.
I wanted to help people transition away from chemicals to sustainable alternatives. All roads led me to Aqueous Ozone—a powerful chemical free alternative that is stronger than bleach used in that school. As I learned more, I began to move into to other areas of sustainability including the importance of air purification to reduce VOCs, how sustainable floor coatings reduce air and water pollution, how to reduce a facilities water usage, and other technologies that keep indoor spaces safe and the environment healthy.
In 2019 we formed Green Science Solutions (GSS), a company dedicated to the sale and education of sustainable and chemical free technologies. Since forming GSS we’ve realized that a lot of companies talk about sustainability, but few understand how important it is to maintain sustainable indoor spaces. Part of our goal is not just to sell good products, but to spread the word about how we can build a greener future. In my personal life, I’ve switched to these sustainable solutions for all my cleaning, and I’ve never looked back! If this experience has taught me anything it’s that we can’t keep cleaning with the same old hazardous cleaning products if we want a healthy and sustainable future. We are so grateful for all our current partners who we’ve helped meet their sustainability goals. We’ve done a lot so far, but there’s more to go.