Cleaning Products Pilot Project (CPPP)
In May 1993, while team meetings continued, GSA and EPA began a small scale pilot project at the James A. Byrne Federal Courthouse in Philadelphia to examine the performance, human health, and environmental safety effects of a variety of cleaning products. Nineteen cleaning products (including all purpose cleaners, glass and toilet bowl cleaners, disinfectants, and degreasers) were divided into four test groups. The first three groups included alternative cleaning products that were believed to be less harmful to human health or the environment based on product literature and information obtained from Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). The fourth group was used as a baseline and included a subsample of the cleaning products previously used by the courthouse custodial staff.
Each group of products was used for a one month cycle. At the end of each cycle, the 45 member custodial staff was surveyed to measure the cleaning effectiveness of each product on each of the surfaces typically found in government buildings. The staff was asked to rate each of the products on a scale from one (poor performance) to five (superior performance). The staff was also surveyed to determine if the products could be linked to any adverse health factors including headaches, dizziness, upset stomach, coughing, or throat, eye, or skin irritation.
The results of the survey suggested that:
- Alternative cleaning products in cycle three were more effective than the other alternative cleaning products and were nearly as effective, in terms of cleaning effectiveness, as the baseline products.
- Baseline cleaning products had an average efficacy rating of 3.75 (on the five point scale described above), while the alternative cleaners in cycle three had an efficacy rating of 3.59.
- Although the baseline cleaning products were slightly more effective, according to the survey respondents, the health problems associated with them were significantly higher.
- Sixteen percent of the staff reported health problems with the baseline products, while only nine percent reported health problems with the alternative cleaning products in cycle three.
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