New York schools will clean green

Kids in New York will breathe easier this fall, thanks to a new law requiring schools in the state to purchase environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. “It’s well documented that when you clean up the quality of the air we breathe indoors, students’ attendance rates go up, attention spans in the classroom improve, and students perform better,” says Laurie Rich, a school-district board president. A number of parents and groups have argued that the state’s green-cleaning guidelines aren’t strict enough; schools can use up old, more-toxic cleaners before making the switch, and products with added fragrances are not restricted. “If there is a single ingredient in any cleaning product that will cause an asthmatic attack, it would be the fragrance, and there are a lot of children with asthma in our schools,” says Patti Wood of local nonprofit Grassroots Environmental Education. Still, the law is a step in the right direction. Next problem to tackle: homework-eating dogs.