From: Kim Auletta <kim.auletta**At_Symbol_Here**STONYBROOK.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Housekeeping chemical
Date: December 6, 2012 7:14:55 AM EST
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <59f3d.22663526.3df0b6c1**At_Symbol_Here**>

In NYS we are following these guidelines for housekeeping chemicals &
green cleaning purchasing:

Kim Gates
Laboratory Safety Specialist
Environmental Health & Safety
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-6200
FAX: 631-632-9683
EH&S Web site:

Please note my name change.

On Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 9:40 AM, wrote:
Wayne< My quick advice is

1. MSDSs must list ingredients--no proprietary stuff. If they won't tell
you what it is, that should be a deal breaker.

2. Natural solvents like citrus, pine, and turpentine are all too toxic for
this use. The TLV for turp is 20 ppm, the MAK for d-limonene is 5 ppm and
while pine has no air quality standard, you only have to look at the
structure to know it is going to be a player in the same ballpark. They
also react with pollution levels of ozone in indoor environments to raise
formaldehyde levels--a phenomena also seen above forests.

Turp and limonene are EPA-registered pesticides, so if you need a
biodegradable pesticide for occasional use, I recommend them. But don't
scrub down the school everyday with them.

3. You probably can't avoid the glycol ethers as a class of super grease
cutters such as 2-butoxyethanol and it's kissing kin, but warn people that
the TLV for 2BTE is 20 ppm and most other glycol ethers' TLVs are low or
they are unstudied. They are skin absorbers, and 2BTE will go right through
rubber gloves without changing their appearance. They are probably
reproductive hazards. The primary glycol ethers are animal nuggie shrinkers
which sometimes gets the attention of your male maintenance workers.

4. Make sure they all understand the definitions of the various nefarious
"sustainability" and eco-friendly terms.

a) "no VOCs" means no volatile chemicals that react with sunlight to create
smog. All other solvents are exempt such as acetone, ethyl and methyl
acetates, and many more. And EPA can do other weird things such as
declaring 2BTE a VOC in industrial products but not a VOC in consumer
products. Go figure. So "no VOCs" may be good for smog control, but it has
NOTHING to do with your health.

b) "Biodegradable" only means the stuff is not persistent in the environment
and breaks down into something--often something that has not been fully
studied as we found out with the nonyl phenol ethoxylates (banned in the EU,
but still causing the alligators and fish in our lakes and streams to grow
teeny weeny penies). The old phosphate detergents that were banned and
replaced with this and other detergents were not very toxic to people. They
were just fertilizer for algae.

c) "Natural biodegradable" products are almost always more toxic to people
than the petroleum distillate solvents they are replacing. Biodegradable
has NOTHING to do with you health.

d) "Sustainable" means the stuff comes from a renewable source such as a
tree or plant. Where is it written that Mother Nature loves you? There is
absolutely no reason to assume something from a plant is any safer for you
than something from plants and animals compressed under the earth
geologically such as petroleum. And this is especially true of sustainable
products that have been significantly altered such as using soy oil to make
detergents, resins, etc. The source of the product has NOTHING to do with
your health.

5. Don't accept any of the certified labels and EPA-approvals without
finding out what manufacturers legally must provide to get these labels. You
will be depressed for weeks.

Instead, find out what chemicals are in the stuff and look up what is known
or NOT KNOWN about them. When in doubt, get an EU SDS on that ingredient
from the Internet, scroll down to Section II, toxicology, and see if
anything is actually known about chronic or long term hazards. You'll find
most of the chemicals you will be looking up will have no chronic data.
Then apply the Precautionary Principle.

And I could go on. Helping the earth is a noble aim. I'm all for it. But
to think that using these sustainable and biodegradable products will also
be better for your health is to be remain ignorant and a patsy for every
fast talking salesperson.


In a message dated 12/5/2012 5:50:54 AM Eastern Standard Time,
Wayne.Phan**At_Symbol_Here**POMONA.EDU writes:

Hello all,

We are looking to switch to our housekeeping cleaning chemicals to more
sustainable and less hazardous substance. Any advice or recommendation. I
have been talking to a couple of vendors but would love to get addition



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