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Safer Janitorial Cleaning in Worcester Project

Project Details

Year: 2006
Location: Worcester
Project Manager: Peggy Middaugh
Partners: Christian Community Church , YWCA of Central Massachusetts, Worcester Common Ground


The main goals of the Safer Cleaning Project are:

  1. to reduce the occupational health hazards faced by self-employed and small-scale janitors in Worcester,
  2. to improve the air quality of frequently used community buildings such as churches, gyms, and multiple-unit housing, and improve the health of the people who use these facilities,
  3. to raise the level of awareness about toxic chemicals in both self-employed and small-scale janitors, as well as the people using the buildings being cleaned.

The Safer Cleaning in Worcester Project will focus on the toxics that are found in common conventional cleaning products such as restroom cleaners, carpet cleaners, floor & furniture wax, stain removers, and glass and window cleaners. Conventional cleaning products typically contain an array of toxic chemicals, including: hydrochloric acid, perchloroethylene, butoxyethanol, and bleach.

In order to meet these goals, REC will:

  • Contact thirty or more janitors, in person or on the phone, and complete a brief survey to find out what cleaning products and techniques they are using. Janitors will be asked if they will host a Safer Cleaning training at one of the sites they clean.

  • Conduct five or more Safer Cleaning trainings at different sites for up to 30 janitors in addition to a total of 50 or more people who use the buildings where they clean. The trainings will include an explanation of basic TUR principles and techniques and be based on the training for janitorial staff developed by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Environmentally Preferable Products list will be used as a reference for less-toxic or non-toxic products. The trainings will also include a "cleaning party" component in which REC staff & volunteers will demonstrate the efficacy of less-toxic and non-toxic cleaners by cleaning the indoor space in which the training is taking place.

  • Translate training materials and safer cleaning brochures into Spanish.

  • Produce refrigerator magnets or translated brochures that list less-toxic and non-toxic cleaning alternatives and resources.

  • Serving as an ongoing resource for information and support to all those who attend a Safer Cleaning training as they implement TUR in the buildings where they work, worship, and workout.

This page updated Wednesday November 02 2011