Thursday, April 8, 2010

Washing Out The Green

By Michael Contino

Syracuse, N.Y. - There are many ways one can go green, and that includes the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products.

These "green cleaning" items can benefit your health through the removal of certain harmful chemicals that can among other things, worsen chronic ailments.

"I have a pretty significant case of asthma going," said Michelle "Kiki" Brown, a Syracuse resident who uses green cleaning products. "I have to be very careful with the materials I use in my home."

"You can keep your body healthier, you can keep your lungs healthier," said Richard Kampos, owner of Syrause's Green Cleaning Technologies about the benefits of using Green Cleaning Products. "Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and if you're using products that are potentially toxic, you're taking in carcinogens."

Not All Green

Then again, a product you think of as green may be just as toxic as the cheaper, regular products. That's because many manufacturers put fake green logos on normal products and sell them as environmentally friendly.

"Most distributors, manufacturers, private label companies, will put a maple leaf on it [the product] or a nice green hue to it with a brook or a creek running through it," said Michael Gosson, owner of Parish Maintenance Supply in Syracuse, which sells green cleaning products to companies in the area.

Though not every company partakes in "Greenwashing," it is something to be aware of if you're considering going green in the cleaning department.

Spotting a Fake

With so many companies putting green logos on their products, how does the average person determine if a given product is real or not? Gosson's answer is simple: outside approval.

"Unless it has some independent certification, the only person that can state with all empirical data that it's green is a third party. Otherwise, you can say whatever you want," Gosson said.

Among Gosson's certified products is the Activeon Ionater Pro, which can clear the H1N1 Virus off of surfaces while using only tap water. It's part of an entire line of Parish products under the heading of "Chemical Free Cleaning."

The Local Effort

Ask anyone who knows about Greenwashing and they'll all have a similar answer as to why it happens: certification can be very expensive, going as high as thousands of dollars per year.

One local company doing it anyway is Brophy Services Incorporated, a Building Services Contracter in Syracuse.

Owner Eileen Brophy says her certified products will not only be healthier for clients but it will make her company unique.

"There are no companies in my line of work that are lead certified. You take a $25-30 million dollar a year company like Janitronics and Matrix that are my competitors. They aren't lead certified," Brophy said.

Among the harmful chemicals not in Brophy's new products are Sodium Silicate, which irritates the eyes and skin, and Ammonium Hydroxide, which effects the eyes and respiratory tract.

To Gosson's knowledge, she's the only supplier in "at least a 500-mile radius" to go green the legitimate way.

Washing out the green from CP2E on Vimeo.


  1. For a product to be "Green Seal Approved" it must have their logo. Green Seal is a third party that sets the standards. To my knowledge, they are the only ones that can give the green ratings.

  2. Hey Baxter Sales,

    There's a Canadian version of Green Seal called Ecologo, and it's the one that Brophy Services Inc. uses. You can actually see the logo on all of their products.

    Then again, that's what they're paying all the money for. It should be noted that the yearly costs of Ecologo are roughly 80% lower than those of Green Seal.

    Here's a link to info about Ecologo: