Hackensack, NJ, January 12, 2006 – Following the advice of Deirdre Imus, one of the nation’s environmental leaders protecting children’s health, New Jersey became the second to activate “Green Cleaning” at a statewide level to further the cause of indoor air quality.
Governor Richard J. Codey signed Executive Order No. 76 today, requiring all state agencies and authorities to begin using environmentally-friendly cleaning products that are free of harmful chemicals.
The order was signed at the State Capitol in the presence of Deirdre, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell, and reporters. In making the announcement, Governor Codey said, “Today we can breathe easier knowing our workplaces will be safer and our environment will be cleaner. These safer, more environmentally friendly products are available, affordable and effective so it makes sense to switch.”
Deirdre has been raising public awareness about the potential hazards of cleaning chemicals for five years, and in 2004 she reached out to New York Governor George Pataki. In January 2005, Governor Pataki issued a “Green Cleaning” Executive Order after recognizing Mrs. Imus and her work on behalf of children’s health in his State of the State Address. In August, Governor Pataki signed the “Green Cleaning Act” (A8742) into law which required elementary and secondary schools in the state to follow suit, and amended the state’s education and finance laws to allow this.
Ms. Imus is the founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center™-- part of Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC), a not-for-profit corporation in Hackensack, N.J. The Environmental Center represents one of the first hospital-based programs whose specific mission is to identify, control and ultimately prevent toxic exposures in the environment that threaten our children's health.
She is also co-founder and co-director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer, a 4,000 acre working cattle ranch in northern New Mexico, which provides the experience of the American cowboy to children suffering from cancer and various blood diseases, and to the siblings of children who have been victims of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
In the January issue of Commerce magazine, Deirdre Imus urged the New Jersey Governor’s office to pick up the torch on indoor air in 2006. “The majority of us spend our days indoors, subject to the ‘prevailing winds’ of our workspace, where we are all exposed to environmental hazards and toxins. Most of us aren’t aware of it, and, even if we are, in many cases, there’s no way to open a window,” she said in the story.
Also in December, New York City passed a package of Green legislation including (Intro 552) to reduce the use of cleaning products with toxic chemicals. Ms. Imus had testified before the Council in February.
“An Executive Order is the first step that can have far-reaching consequences for environmental health, and it's an excellent opportunity for other Governors," Ms. Imus said. “We are delighted Governor Codey is taking action now because there’s no time to waste when it comes to health, especially for our children.
The Environmental Health Center operates the award-winning Greening the Cleaning® program, and advised HUMC on environmental materials and processes that would contribute to superior indoor air quality for the new Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion at HUMC.
Greening the Cleaning® means eliminating to the greatest extent possible all cleaning agents containing hazardous ingredients and replacing them with environmentally responsible products that utilize natural or naturally-derived ingredients, and ingredients from renewable resources whenever possible.
The Greening the Cleaning® program is one of the center’s most successful educational and outreach programs to date. More than 60 healthcare facilities, businesses and schools have implemented the program since 2001, all with direct savings in cleaning costs. In New Jersey this includes hospitals, schools, major airports and corporations.
Importance of Schools
Deirdre says children must remain a focal point. “The facts are shocking. Children’s cancer is still the leading cause of death by disease. We’ve seen a six-fold increase in attention deficit disorder, a condition almost unknown a generation ago. An appalling diet has produced an epidemic in childhood obesity, and diabetes is at nearly epidemic proportions. Respiratory problems such as asthma are the leading cause of absenteeism in schools. One in every 166 children in this country is diagnosed with autism. One of every six kids is diagnosed with a learning disability. And the list goes on.”
“Greening the Cleaning® is really a smart move for school administrators. Environmentally responsible cleaners don’t have to cost more, and we can help schools through the transition,” she said.
Responding to consumer inquiries, a household line of Greening the Cleaning® was introduced in December, available through imusranchfoods.com.
Hackensack University Medical Center is a nationally recognized healthcare organization offering patients the most comprehensive services, state-of-the art technologies, and facilities. A leader in providing the highest quality patient-centered care, Hackensack University Medical Center has been recognized for performance excellence encompassing the entire spectrum of hospital quality and service issues.
Theses honors include the HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence(TM) and the J.D. Power and Associates Distinguished Hospital Program(SM). Hackensack University Medical Center, a teaching and research hospital, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in New Jersey. Fueling its standing as one of New Jersey’s and the nation’s healthcare leaders is a steadfast commitment to quality.
For more information about Greening the Cleaning®, visit dienviro.com, or call The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center™ at 201-336-8071.
Click headlines to view: