|April 6, 2007
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
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
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 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.