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July 8, 2009

Four States Pass Green Clean Schools Legislation

As schools around the U.S. increasingly switch to green cleaning programs, legislators in at least four more states—Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland and Nevada—have passed green clean schools legislation. The states join California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, which introduced similar legislation in 2009. Illinois, Maine, Missouri and New York have laws in place requiring or encouraging green cleaning in schools.

“What we’re seeing is a real movement as more school leaders recognize green cleaning as a simple change that goes miles in protecting the health of everyone in the school building,” said Mark Bishop, the deputy director of the Healthy Schools Campaign, an independent not-for-profit organization.

The U.S. Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Product Recognition Program is a voluntary U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program that partners with manufacturers to ensure use of the safest possible ingredients in chemical-based products. The DfE Program applies a rigorous scientific methodology, based on ingredient component-class screens and whole product criteria, to ensure that products bearing the EPA logo contain best-in-class ingredients and are safer for families and the environment.

The DfE Program has allowed use of its logo on more than 1,000 products, reducing the use of chemicals of concern by 270 million pounds.

“Providing a clear definition of ‘green’ goes a long way toward helping schools make good purchasing decisions and protect the health of their students and staff,” said Mr. Bishop. “In an ever-changing marketplace with more and more schools sorting through new innovations and competing environmental claims, programs such as these play an increasingly important role.”

Teen Tanning Is a Hot Topic at the State Levels

Kids can’t vote or drink until they’re 18—so should they be allowed to tan? Americans believe young adults and children should not have access to tanning salons without parental oversight because of the danger of skin cancer, suggests an online poll by, an online community of health education, news and patient inquiries to skin care specialists.

More than 250 voted to encourage legislation to restrict or stop access to tanning salons without parental consent versus just 25 who disagreed. More than 20 states have legislation pending about restricting tanning bed usage.

In March, Arkansas and Mississippi signed into law new legislation to restrict access for minors under 14 to tanning salons. Legislators failed to pass a similar law in Montana one month ago.

“About one million people per day in the U.S. tan in tanning parlors. Skin cancers are common. People, including young people, die every day from melanoma. There is strong evidence that exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma, especially when that exposure occurs at an early age. Public support for laws that would make it harder for teens to have access to tanning beds is very encouraging. Such legislation would literally save lives,” said Dr. Steven E. Zimmet of Zimmet Vein & Dermatology, Austin, TX and an advisor to

“Many states have enacted laws to stop the proliferation of teens seeking the tanning bed, or at least requiring a minor to have parental consent in order to tan,” said Lauren Wright, director of

“Other states have passed stiffer laws that require minors or those under 18 to have a written prescription from their doctor. These laws are needed to stem the tide of sun damage and the potential for more serious skin cancer diagnosis. The term ‘killer tan’ could have a whole new meaning for this generation,” she continued.

It is said that many youths will receive 50 to 80% of their lifetime sun exposure during childhood.

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