December 2012 Letters And Views

Letters To The Editor

Insight from the JanSan industry.

November 30, 2012
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Each month, we welcome readers to opine on the noteworthy — or even the trivial — aspects of their lives as JanSan professionals.

The following is some of the correspondence we have received in recent weeks.Letters To The Editor

A Requiem For Clean

This note is in response to Mike Tarvin, vice president of Multi-Clean Inc., and his comment from the August 2012 issue regarding my elegy of Activeion, “The Passing Of An Industry Innovator,” which ran in the June 2012 issue.

First, I want to thank Tarvin and the rest of the Multi-Clean folks for their perspective.

The cleaning chemical has a right to be proud of its history of meeting the cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection needs of commercial and residential consumers.

When there was no other alternative, the chemical industry responded with powerful and effective solutions.

And, I think that we might all agree that whatever strategy is used, the job of cleaning and caring for our buildings must be done effectively for appearance and health reasons.

Yet, I am often surprised by those who off-handedly dismiss the toxic-free, chemical-free segment of our industry in defense of products that are being linked to adverse safety, health and environmental problems.

Even a casual Internet search of today’s traditional — and even “green” — products clearly tells a cautionary tale about the harm done by the chemicals we use to clean our buildings.

And, we don’t have to settle for the chemical connection to worker injuries, cancer risks, reproductive problems, environmental damage and so much more, as suggested by currently available studies.

The good news is that we are seeing the industry evolve from toxic solutions through the “green” chemical model toward an even healthier, safer idea.

So, it ought to be no surprise to anyone that innovation hasn’t stopped with the idea of dilution and the substitution of toxic chemicals.

The courage of Activeion — even in its failure — and the emergence of other water-based cleaners, sanitizers, degreasers and disinfectants is a continuation of the innovation in our industry.

Moreover, we ought to embrace that innovation, not condemn it or the companies that are advancing the vision for how we will clean our buildings tomorrow.

History could show that, like Activeion, some of these companies may not succeed; yet, they are extraordinary companies that are guideposts to the future of the cleaning industry.Spray Bottles For Disinfection Odor Control And Other Cleaning-related Tasks

As I talk to buyers of cleaning products and services everywhere, I am saying that, for today, we must adopt a least harmful cleaning strategy built on toxic-free, natural, green and traditional products to effectively care for our buildings.

Today’s cleaning strategy needs the whole rainbow of products available to meet the cleaning challenges we face. 

But, it is part of our evolution as an industry to move beyond toxic, harmful chemical products.

As I talk to product manufacturers and distributors around the world, I am suggesting that, if they don’t yet have one, then they ought to establish a “future team of innovators” to identify the next wave of cleaning ideas based not on what they have done previously or what they are now doing, but on what they could be doing.

The evolution of a non-toxic, least harmful model to clean our buildings is one of those movements that will define our industry and our society for decades. – Vince Elliott, founder of Elliott Affiliates Ltd. and president of the Chemical Free Cleaning Network (CFCN).

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