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Training for a Non-toxic Workplace

This project was focused on the prevention of unsafe chemical exposure in the workplace. It aimed to provide workers with information about chemical ingredients in cleaning products and their potential health effects – beyond that which is provided through Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) required through WHMIS legislation. The research also examined the accessibility of MSDS in sample worksites, as well as the accuracy of MSDS

The hotel industry and school districts are heavy users of commercial-institutional cleaning products, which often contain toxic ingredients. This can include carcinogens, reproductive toxicants, asthmagens (which are substances that can cause asthma), and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (which can interfere with hormones). However, workers often have limited knowledge of chemicals and their potential health effects

In this project, the research team provided training on chemical exposure regulation and product substitution to joint occupational health and safety committees and staff at five school and hotel work sites. The aim of the project was to determine if greater knowledge of chemical exposures, health effects, and product substitution would lead to institutional change on product purchasing. A guide on cleaners and toxins for workers in the commercial cleaning industry was also developed and is available on the Labour and Environmental Alliance Society (LEAS) website

Principal Applicant: Mae Burrows (Labour Environmental Alliance Society)
Co-applicant: K. Sean Griffin (Labour Environmental Alliance Society)
Funding Awarded: $33,795 (Innovation)

Competition Year: 2006 File type: PDF (210 KB) Asset type: Research Research: RS2006-IG18