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Group Urges 'Green' Cleaning

By DANIEL E. GOREN, Courant Staff Writer

November 22, 2007

The Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice wants Hartford city government to clean its floors and bathrooms with something green.

And they're not talking about the color of the city's toilet-bowl cleanser. They mean something safe.

And to push that agenda members of the coalition plan to show up at Monday's city council meeting armed with mops, brooms and a bucket marked "poison."

The group has a "Green Cleaning Resolution" being considered for adoption by the council. The resolution, if passed, would require the use of nontoxic products in the cleaning of municipal buildings in the city of Hartford.

"This is to educate the public about cleaning chemicals, that there are a lot of dangers in cleaning chemicals that they buy off the shelves," Mark Mitchell, president of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, said Wednesday. "People shouldn't get asthma attacks from walking into a school building."

Mitchell is working with another advocacy group, the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut, to get legislation passed at the local level in several cities and towns that would require the use of nontoxic cleaning materials. Currently, Mitchell says many municipalities use noxious chemicals that "are linked to birth defects, gender abnormalities, cancer, respiratory problems, skin irritations, and developmental disorders."

Instead of using chemicals the names of which are too difficult to pronounce, Mitchell said people should refer back to what their grandmothers used, "like vinegar and soap."

In addition to Hartford, Mitchell said his organization is pursuing local legislation in Bridgeport, Berlin East Hampton, Portland, Rocky Hill, Milford, New Haven, Newington and Wethersfield.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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