When was the last time your child’s daycare or school cleaned its rugs or carpet? After all, the carpet is one of the most critical places to keep clean in an environment for children. They spend several hours a day on a rug in circle time, story time and dramatic play. Not only do kids track in dirt from the outside, but they also tend to wipe their nose goodies on the rug for all to enjoy. If a child gets a tummy ache from their lunch, their vomit will end up there too. No wonder the Southern Nevada Health District requires cleaning of rugs, mats and carpets at least every three months.
In my cleaning career, one thing I’ve learned when taking over from a competitor is that requiring and actually doing are two very different things. Usually, a competitor isn’t living up to expectations or the contracted requirements and the customer becomes unsatisfied. However, when school budgets are squeezed, one of the first line items to be trimmed is “cleaning services”. As a result of this skimping, the health of your child may suffer.
So the question becomes, really, is your child’s daycare or school following the County’s regulations? How can you tell? Does the County even keep track? As a concerned parent and cleaning professional I was curious to find out.
I started with a simple list of questions to the Southern Nevada Health District’s Environmental Health Services hoping they could lead me in the right direction. I wasn’t expecting any in-depth answers or even a reply. To my pleasant surprise, I received a prompt response from Dante Merriweather, Senior Environmental Health Specialist for The Health District. What I learned was both promising and disappointing.
The Good News
The promising news is that the Health District is tracking compliance when it comes to carpet cleaning in our kids’ schools. They have Environmental Specialists assigned to childcare facilities. These specialists are tasked with reviewing the cleaning logs of the facility for frequency of cleaning.
Noncompliance can lead to fees, closure or complete revocation of the permit. To see the status of your child’s school with the Health District you can make a public record request at: https://southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/records-request/recordrequest (fees may apply).
The Bad News
The Health District advocates for facilities to use EPA-registered disinfectants and sanitizers when most chemicals (like disinfectants and sanitizers) registered with the EPA are extremely hazardous and toxic to your health and environment. (That’s why they must be registered–so the government can track their whereabouts and usage). For example, Windex (ammonia-based cleaner) is registered with the EPA and known as an eye, nose and throat irritant; while high-temperature steam is not registered, but the EPA recommends its use as part of “greening up” child care facility cleaning programs.
The EPA themselves began advocating for “green,” less toxic cleaning solutions as far back as a decade ago. They make no mention that they must be registered with the EPA to be effective. The EPA recognized the growth of superbugs as well as the link between toxic chemicals and health issues arising in the classroom. Thus they changed their policies as the environment changed around them and information was gathered. Smart!
To battle the diseases we suffer from today and improve student health, I propose and strongly urge the Health District to simply remove the requirement that disinfectants and sanitizers be registered with the EPA before they can be used in a childcare facility. Doing so will improve the health of our students two fold. Still killing germs and not exposing students to nasty chemicals.
For those who think Pandora’s box will open if this change is made, I urge you to think again. Think about all the EPA-registered cleaning solutions there are, the toxic fumes they give off and the poor health caused from their use. Now think about how they prove their inability every day to keep us safe from the germs, superbugs and disease they are supposed to fight. Isn’t a change due? Are we courageous enough as Southern Nevadans to make a fundamental change when our health calls for it? I think so.
Why pick up that spray bottle full of bleach, with its cognitive and respiratory impairment qualities, when a mix of water and vinegar is good enough (cheaper too)? Or you can purchase Germz Be Gone very own Probiotic All-Purpose Cleaner HERE.
Lyndon Conaway is a proud parent of two and founder of Germz Be Gone. A nontoxic cleaning company using steam and probiotics to clean places and spaces often neglected. Think baby gear and sports gear. Lyndon is always happy to answer questions about cleaning. If you have a cleaning challenge or need something answered, feel free to email him: firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in the article are the author’s.