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AQMD Adopts "Clean Air Choices" Certification Program for Commercial Cleaning Supplies

April 6, 2007

The Southland’s air pollution agency today adopted an innovative voluntary certification program designed to help clean the air by increasing demand for ultra-low polluting commercial cleaning products.

“Commonly used cleaning products can produce harmful smog-forming emissions,” said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.  “This program will help protect the health of workers and residents by encouraging the use of ultra-low polluting cleaning products.”

The AQMD Governing Board today adopted the Clean Air Choices Cleaner Certification program for very low-polluting cleaning products used by maintenance and cleaning workers at commercial office buildings, schools, retail stores and hotels. 

The goal of the program is to increase recognition and use of existing qualifying products and to encourage manufacturers to develop additional qualifying formulations.

The new program is the first step in a measure included in AQMD’s draft 2007 Air Quality Management Plan to reduce emissions from consumer products and could lead to future requirements for institutional and commercial cleaning products. 

Cleaning products targeted for certification include floor care products; all purpose cleaners and degreasers; bathroom and tile cleaners; carpet and upholstery cleaners; glass cleaners; and metal polishes and cleansers.  However, any household or janitorial product that satisfies the criteria is eligible for consideration.  The use of such products in commercial and industrial settings are responsible for about 2.5 tons per day of smog-forming volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions – more than is emitted from the region’s largest oil refinery in one day.

To qualify as a Clean Air Choice cleaner, a product must contain 10 grams per liter or less of VOCs.  AQMD’s certification, valid for three years, also requires products to contain less than one-tenth of one percent by weight of other harmful chemicals, including toxic air contaminants, hazardous air pollutants, and ozone-depleting and global warming compounds.  Alternatively, a product that has been certified by an existing approved certification program, such as Green Seal, U.S. EPA Design for the Environment or EcoLogo can also be certified by AQMD if its VOC content is 10 grams per liter or less. 

The program’s VOC criteria is more stringent than existing California Air Resources Board requirements for such cleaning products sold in the state.

Numerous federal, state and local institutional and commercial facilities have developed programs to require the use of environmentally preferable products, including the Los Angeles Unified School District and the City of Santa Monica.  Beginning this spring, janitorial service providers contracting with the AQMD will be required to use environmentally preferable cleaning products at AQMD’s Diamond Bar headquarters.

The new program is modeled after AQMD’s Clean Air Solvent Certification program established in 1996 for industrial cleaning solvents.  Currently, 73 companies and more than 140 products are certified as a Clean Air Solvent.

In other action today, the Board:

  • Adopted a resolution recommending guidelines for use by the California Transportation Commission and the state Air Resources Board when providing state bond funding for transportation and goods movement projects in the AQMD’s four-county area;
  • Approved $250,000 to help dry cleaners transition to non-toxic, non-polluting cleaning technologies.  The AQMD Board also revised the incentive criteria to fund only professional wet cleaning technologies.  To date, AQMD has committed $3 million to help dry cleaners transition to environmentally friendly technologies; and
  • Awarded $1.8 million from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) to First Student -- a private school bus transportation service -- to help offset the cost of 42 new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses for its fleet.

AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.


This page updated: April 06, 2007