News: CDC Links Schools with Green Cleaning

Is green cleaning finally coming of age in our school systems? With an eye in this direction,  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has, for the first time ever, included a chapter in its 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS) on the physical school environment that specifically discusses green cleaning.

What is the SHPPS—and how can it impact green cleaning in schools? Released periodically (the last version debuted the end of 2013), the CDC’s SHPPS is a national survey that assesses school health policies and practices at the state and district levels. This important study itself is often used to help guide policies and practices to promote student health and academic achievement.

Thus, the report’s new chapter on the physical school environment elevates green cleaning to a prominent level, which means that schools, districts, and policymakers alike will be much more inclined to include green cleaning in their programs. This is a healthy, positive direction for our schools and the children they serve.

Key Green Findings

The physical environment chapter of SHPPS covers important issues related to green cleaning, including indoor air quality, pest control, use of hazardous materials, and professional development for custodial staff. The following positive changes were pinpointed from 2006 to 2012:

  • 35.4% to 47.7%: The percentage increase from 2006 to 2012 of school districts with an indoor air quality management program that included seeking approval before using cleaning pesticides and chemicals.

  • 17.5% to 30.2%: The increase of the purchase of low-emitting products for use in and around the school environment.

  • 83.9%: the amount of districts that used an outside company for pest management that was certified for practices that reduce the use of pesticides.

  • 27.4% to 41.4%: The increase in districts that funded or provided professional development for custodial staff.

How Can You Encourage Change?

If you want to help your child’s school be the change, check out Healthy School Campaign’s Quick + Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools. The guide’s five simple steps can get your school started on a path to make a real, healthy difference.

Erinn Morgan


After a 10-year career as an award-winning New York City-based editor launching and redesigning urban, style-driven magazines, Erinn Morgan left downtown Manhattan after September 11th, 2001, in search of a less encumbered, freelance lifestyle. A two-year-long trek around the country eventually landed her in Durango, Colo., which she now calls home.

Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Bike, Skiing, Delicious Living, American Cowboy, and on

Erinn is also the author of the eco-focused book, Picture Yourself Going Green, Step-by-Step Instruction for Living a Budget-Conscious, Earth-Friendly Lifestyle in Eight Weeks or Less.

She was previously the editor-in-chief of 20/20 magazine, a special projects editor at Playboy (overseeing the launch of a new, custom magazine), and the founding editor/editor-in-chief of SoHo Style, a much-lauded, avant-garde magazine that covered the culture and style of downtown New York and its reach around the world.

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