A precedent-setting bill to regulate the use of toxic cleaning supplies in daycare centers stalled in the Maryland House of Delegates this legislative session. Spearheaded by Delegate Angela Angel and 15 co-sponsors, the bill called on the State Department of Education to set guidelines around the use of non-toxic cleaning products in an effort to protect both children and staff from toxic exposure.
Although dangerous chemicals are not always labeled, common cleaning supplies contain toxics such as formaldehyde, arsenic, and others. Exposure to even low levels of these chemicals has been linked to devastating health hazards, including childhood cancers, developmental disorders, reproductive issues and asthma.
Thanks to 2012 legislation promoting green cleaning practices in public schools, Maryland joined 10 other states in protecting both school kids and maintenance workers from toxic cleaners. The legislation introduced this session would have extended green cleaning to large childcare homes and childcare centers, while allowing for both practical and economic exemptions. Experts say younger children are most vulnerable to chemical exposure.
In March, the bill was endorsed by the Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council – a group of pediatricians, State Delegates and Senators, environmental activists, and State Government Agencies housed under the Maryland Department of the Environment.
Despite support from the community and from a majority of the legislators serving on the House Committee, the bill was delayed from passing through the Health and Government Operations Committee. The bill’s supporters have vowed to try again next session.