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MassCOSH Cleaning For a Healthy Start

Project Details

Year: 2013
Location: Boston
Project Manager: Tolle Graham, Labor-Environment Coordinator- MassCOSH
Partners: MAAP/Health Resources in Action, ABCD Head Start and Children's Services, Montachusett Opportunity Council


The project team’s goal was to eliminate toxic chemical use in Head Start child-care facilities in underserved Boston neighborhoods, contributing to improved environmental health and environmental awareness for low-income children and adults. With their partners, MassCOSH promoted safer cleaning agents and the implementation of toxics use reduction practices. They established an environmental committee of staff and parents that will develop education and outreach strategies. This led to the development of new, safer cleaning policies at 25 Head Start facilities that serve as a model that can be easily replicable across the Commonwealth. 


The ABCD Policy Workgroup had gained a greater understanding of cleaning for health principles and the need to continue to expand their “green” purchasing. 32 ABCD sites  will be cleaned with a “green certified” all- purpose cleaner. The contract cleaning company which cleans about half of the programs, and was part of our “trial” project enthusiastically embraced the use of these products. The new ABCD Head Start  green cleaning contract cleaner bid specs impacts 2,400 Boston children ages 0 to 5 -- 16% of whom are diagnosed with asthma -- across their 25 Head Start centers because they are now cleaned with green seal certified cleaners.  Approximately 300 children and 60 teachers and parents at the two Head Start facilities where the pilots were conducted have been impacted by reduced exposure to toxic chemicals and have greater awareness of TUR through the establishment of environmental committees at those sites. In addition, The Healthy Schools Committee members of MAAP representing school nurses, teachers, occupational and environmental health advocates have received awareness they supported efforts to expand the use of green cleaners and safer disinfectants through educational efforts at the State House. 

This page updated Monday July 23 2018