I was reading one of my favorite blogs this morning Phd in Parenting and she posted about a campaign floating around called Moms Against Cooties. It’s a campaign launched by the Water Quality and Health Council (which they don’t make very obvious). According to their website they are a group sponsored by the “Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council, an industry trade association“. Which means to me that it’s funded by groups with a monetary interest in the success of people’s fears turning to chlorine products like Clorox to obsessively bleach the heck out of everything we come in contact with.
I am a Mom FOR Cooties. “You like your kids to get sick? What kind of a twisted woman are you?” No. I hate when they get sick. But it’s a part of life and a part of growing up. Kids and people will ALWAYS get sick. If we didn’t we would have no immune resistance to anything. I come from the era where your parents sent you to the kid with Chicken Pox’s house to play so you’d get it and be done with it. I don’t recommend that course of action but let’s be real. Kids get sick regardless of whether we scour our schools with a “mild chlorine bleach solution” or not. Oh my! Germs! Run!
Cleaning is important, of course. I am not advocating the idea of not cleaning schools and day cares. But I don’t think that rubbing down every surface of our homes and schools with chlorine bleach is the key to a healthy life illness free life. It may “kill germs” but it is also contributing to the polluted air in schools and could be aggravating asthma conditions. I think teaching good hand washing while using simple less toxic (please let’s ditch the heavy scented stuff! Ugh!) cleaning products is more effective in preventing the spread of germs.
So is the Moms Against Cooties campaign really out to “protect” your kids from germs and bacteria? Or are they just looking for another way to brainwash people into thinking chlorine bleach = clean and safe so they can sell more product? What say you?
Interesting that the “about us” page is broken right now… hmm.
What Can I Do?
I am often asked what to do about preschools and public schools usage of toxic cleaning products. So far I have come up against two barriers. One is that many times, schools are bound by the state Health Department and must follow certain rules in regard to cleaning. Second is budget. Our own preschool uses some cleaning products I wish the didn’t. I have lobbied to have them investigate safer options without success. But I think if I had more back up it could be encouraged since most people I speak to about it are open to learning more about it.
- Educate yourself so you can educate others. I once told our class teacher that the cleaning products they used each day could contribute to asthma and other long term health problems for developing kids. She “had no idea” that was the case. They were open to learning more.
- Tap into resources like Cleaning For Healthy Schools Tool Kit which provide printable PDF’s to share with your schools administrators, nurses and teachers.
- Check out Healthy Child Healthy World‘s tips on getting your school to Clean Green.
- The Healthy Schools Campaign is loaded with information and resources to help you too.
Have you approached your school about changing their cleaning policies?