(Editor’s Note: News Would Be If She Favored Filthy and Disease-Ridden Schools.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 20, 2009
CONTACT: Linda Rapattoni 916-319-2041
Clean and Healthy Schools Act
Will Protect Students, Teachers
SACRAMENTO—Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, was joined by a school
district administrator and environmental and health advocacy groups today in calling for the
passage of the Clean and Healthy Schools Act, Assembly Bill 821.
“Schools need to be safe havens for learning, not places where toxic chemicals are harbored in
cleaning products,” said Assemblywoman Brownley, chairwoman of the Assembly Education
Committee. “As we approach Earth Day, we can all contribute significantly to healthier schools
by passing AB 821 to help schools switch to safe, green alternatives at no additional cost.”
AB 821 requires all K-12 schools with 50 or more students to switch to safer, environmentally
preferable cleaning products if to do so will have no net increase in cost. The bill faces its first
legislative hearing this Wednesday, Earth Day, before the Assembly Education Committee.
National Healthy Schools Day is April 27.
“Teachers support this legislation because it helps make our schools safe for educators and students by requiring the use of ‘green’ cleaning products by the 2010-11 school year,” said David A. Sanchez, president of the 340,000-member California Teachers Association. “It is only natural for educators to be concerned about the impacts that the use of harmful cleaning products will have on student health. We can’t teach to an empty desk. Reducing student exposure to toxic chemicals will keep kids healthy and ready to learn.”
More than one in five Californians spend their days in schools and are exposed to air pollution
that can be two to five times higher than outside levels. Pollutants can come from cleaning products
that contain hazardous chemicals linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive harm and damage to the
body’s nervous system and internal organs. Asthma is the leading cause of absenteeism from a
chronic illness among California school children.
Joining Assemblywoman Brownley at the news conference at Charles Mack Elementary School
in the Elk Grove Unified School District were district Superintendent Dr. Steven M. Ladd, Ed.D.,
and representatives from the bills sponsors: the Green Schools Initiative, Environmental Working
Group, and Regional Asthma Management and Prevention Initiative.
“The Elk Grove Unified School District is committed to promoting green living in our schools and ensuring a healthy learning environment for our students and staff,” Superintendent Ladd said. “Our transition to green cleaning is just one way we continue to work towards saving our environment for future generations.”
“Our lax federal toxic laws allow almost any chemical to be included in products used to clean our schools, regardless of the health risks to California’s children,” said Bill Allayaud, California Director of Government Affairs for Environmental Working Group. “This initiative will help move all our schools toward the use of much safer, environmentally friendly cleaning products that won’t trigger an asthma attack in a student or staff member.”
“We praise Assemblywoman Brownley for introducing legislation that will help protect our children when at school,” said Deborah Moore, Executive Director of Green Schools Initiative. “Elk Grove Unified School District is setting a wonderful example for using products that not only clean well, but are less toxic. Many schools and cities – from New York to Chicago, from Santa Monica to San Francisco – are finding that they can save money by making the switch to green cleaning. There really is no reason to continue to expose kids or workers to dangerous chemicals at school,” Moore said.
“When students breathe better, they learn better,” said Anne Kelsey-Lamb, Director of the Regional Asthma Management and Prevention Initiative (RAMP). “That’s why asthma coalitions throughout the state have worked with their local school districts to find easy, affordable ways of improving indoor air quality. This bill will encourage schools across the state to follow the lead of those that have successfully reduced exposure to harmful environmental contaminants.”
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