OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 6496

AN ACT CONCERNING GREEN CLEANING PRODUCTS IN SCHOOLS.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires local and regional school boards to implement a green cleaning program to clean and maintain their schools. The program must provide for procurement and use of environmentally preferable cleaning products in schools. The bill also prohibits schools from using any cleaning products inside their schools that do not (1) meet standards for environmentally preferable cleaning products set by a certified independent third party that meets criteria the bill establishes and (2) as far as possible, minimize potential harmful effects on human health and the environment. Since the bill makes these provisions effective “on or after” October 1, 2011, it is not clear when school boards must implement them.

By April 1, 2010, the bill requires the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to develop guidelines for the green cleaning programs and provide a list of vendors who sell, and train people in how to use, environmentally preferable products. It requires the State Department of Education (SDE) to change its school facilities survey form to include questions on phasing in green cleaning programs at schools. In developing green cleaning program guidelines and changes in school facilities forms, DAS and SDE must consult with the departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Public Health (DPH).

By July 1, 2010 and each year thereafter, the bill requires school districts to notify students or parents and guardians about the district's green cleaning policy and to publish the notices on each school's website. The notice must state that parents, guardians, and school staff are prohibited from bringing any cleaning, deodorizing, sanitizing, or disinfecting product to school.

On and after July 1, 2011, the bill also requires school facility managers, custodians, and indoor air quality committees (see BACKGROUND) to be trained in best cleaning management practices and to complete a refresher course every five years.

The bill expands the existing biennial report each school district must make to the education commissioner on the condition of its school facilities and the implementation of its indoor air quality program in those facilities to also cover implementation of the green cleaning program in each school. The bill requires the district to post the report information on each school's website.

Finally, the bill requires districts to post on the appropriate school's website the results of any required evaluations and inspections of the building's indoor air quality. By law, such an inspection is required before January 1, 2008 and every five years thereafter for any school building that is built, extended, renovated, or replaced on or after January 1, 2003. The website posting requirement is in addition to existing requirements that the results of the evaluation be available for public inspection at a regularly scheduled board of education meeting.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

ENVIRONMENTALLY PREFERABLE CLEANING PRODUCT

Under the bill, an “environmentally preferable cleaning product” includes general purpose, bathroom, and carpet cleaners; hand cleaners and soaps; floor finishes and strippers; and vacuum cleaners. It does not include antimicrobial products regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, such as disinfectants, disinfecting cleaners, and sanitizers. Environmentally preferable cleaning products must also be certified as such by a certified independent third party that meets the bill's criteria.

CERTIFIED INDEPENDENT THIRD PARTY

The bill establishes the following qualifications for the certified independent third parties that determine which cleaning products are environmentally preferable for use in schools. Such an entity must:

1. have an open process for establishing certification standards that allows public and stakeholder participation;

2. if possible, develop its standards by consensus;

3. define the fees manufacturers must pay for certification and identify any potential conflicts of interest between a manufacturer and the entity;

4. publish and use certification criteria that consider human health and safety, ecological toxicity and other environmental effects, and appropriate resource conservation for the product and its packaging on a life-cycle basis;

5. periodically revise and update its standards and make them available on its website;

6. periodically inspect manufacturing facilities to monitor and enforce standards;

7. have a legally registered certification mark; and

8. establish leadership levels in certification standards for products.

STATE AGENCY REQUIREMENTS AND DEADLINES

Under the bill, by April 1, 2010, DAS must:

1. in consultation with DEP and DPH, develop and post on its website guidelines for procuring environmentally preferable cleaning products and for best cleaning management practices in schools; and

2. prepare a list of vendors who (a) sell the certified products, (b) provide free training in how to use them, and (c) offer discounts for bulk purchases. DAS must review and update the vendor list every two years.

Also by April 1, 2010, SDE, after consulting with DPH and DEP, must change its school facility survey form to include questions about the green cleaning program phase-in.

ANNUAL SCHOOL DISTRICT NOTICE

Every year, starting by July 1, 2010, the bill requires each school district to mail a notice to parents and guardians or students about its green cleaning policy. The notice, which must also be available on each school's website, must include:

1. the names and types of environmentally preferable cleaning products used in the schools and where in the buildings they are applied;

2. the schedule for applying the products; and

3. the name of the school administrator or designee whom the parent, guardian, or student may contact for more information.

The notice must also contain the following statement: “No parent, guardian, teacher, or staff member may bring into the school facility any consumer product which is intended to clean, deodorize, sanitize or disinfect.

BACKGROUND

Indoor Air Quality Committee

The law allows school boards to establish an indoor air quality committee for each school district or facility to increase staff and student awareness of environmental facets affecting the health of school facility occupants, including air quality, water quality, and radon. These committees must include at least (1) one administrator, (2) one maintenance staff member, (3) one teacher, (4) one school health staff member, (5) one parent of a student, and (6) two members-at-large from the school district (CGS 10-231f).

COMMITTEE ACTION

Education Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

31

Nay

0

(03/16/2009)