Views / Queen of Green

Caring for your health

I work in a nursing home and the chemicals we use to clean and disinfect make some staff sick. Are there cleaners that a health-care facility can use safely? - Donna of Vancouver


Health-care facilities must meet cleanliness standards that are often higher than those we follow at home. For example, most doctors will tell you to wash with soap and water only -avoid antibacterial products like those with triclosan.

In fact, the Canadian Medical Association is calling on the federal government to ban all anti-bacterial household products because of fears they cause bacterial resistance.

I recommend you contact the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care and search their green products and services directory at

They have reviewed cleaning products used in places like hospitals and offer recommendations for greener choices. Each organization, product and service listed in the directory has in some way distinguished itself as "green."

Note: The Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care cannot independently verify the environmental qualities of each product and service. However, they offer a We Support Green Health Care logo, which signifies that the provider is a founding partner of the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care. Also, a Third Party Certification logo indicates that the product/service has achieved a third-party environmental certification. Finally, the ChemTRAC logo indicates that the product uses safer chemicals and does not contain or release any of the 25 chemicals tracked by the City of Toronto's ChemTRAC program.

Lindsay Coulter gives you the straight goods on living green. Send your questions to For more great tips, visit The David Suzuki Foundation at

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