UCSF Sustainability Stories
Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact, October 2020
Green Cleaning Products in the Time of COVID-19
With COVID-19, we are all more aware of the need to keep our homes clean and safe. However, according to Gail Lee, UCSF Sustainability Director, “Products like bleach are not necessary to disinfect our homes and have health impacts, such as skin and eye irritation or trigger asthma and other allergic responses”. She explains, “COVID-19 is an airborne virus that can only be transmitted through inhalation. You cannot get it by ingesting it or touching it, so disinfecting every surface only exposes one to toxic chemicals unnecessarily.”
According to the Center for Environmental Health, “70% alcohol is a least-toxic and effective disinfectant”. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a list of 16 products that scored either an “A” or “B”. Some may still be difficult to find.
Other resources on green cleaning and disinfectant use include:
- The EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning;
- EWG’s Healthy Living App, which includes over 2,500 cleaning products;
- The Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit’s factsheet;
- Green Seal; and
- Center for Environmental Health.