Toxic chemicals that damage our health can be found in everything from cleaning products to carpets. City leaders can lead by example and lessen exposure for city workers, residents, and visitors by buying products free of toxic chemicals. When our leaders buy eco-friendly products for city buildings, they make it clear that the health of our communities and our environment is worth protecting.
The Toxic Chemicals Challenge
- Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, and common products such as furnishings, flooring, and cleaning products — products frequently purchased by cities — often contain chemicals that contribute to increased indoor air contamination and adverse health effects.
- Annual healthcare costs and lost earnings from low-level but daily exposure to chemicals found in common products exceed $340 billion, or more than 2.3% of the U.S. GDP.
- People in low-income communities and communities of color experience higher levels of exposure to hazardous chemicals and conditions, exacerbating health disparities.
A Healthy Solution: Eco-Friendly Purchasing
- Protects City Workers — People who provide vital services to cities, such as cleaning, foodservice, maintenance, and waste management, are particularly at risk of developing asthma and other illnesses when using products containing toxic chemicals. This disproportionately affects communities of color, who make up the majority of cleaning workers in large cities.
- Safe, Affordable Alternatives Exist — There are affordable alternatives to toxic products — and cities save resources in preventable health care costs. Eco-friendly purchasing is the smart thing for cities to do.
- Cities Can Lead the Way — Cities spend billions of dollars annually purchasing goods and services. When cities choose to procure goods free of harmful chemicals and practices, municipalities can help decrease demand for the extraction, manufacturing, and disposal of toxic chemicals while improving the health of their workforce and communities.
Measuring cities’ Eco-Friendly Purchasing policies
|How will we award eco-friendly purchasing medals?||Bronze Medal||Silver Medal||Gold Medal|
|The city has an eco-friendly purchasing policy that requires annual reporting.|
|The city has an eco-friendly purchasing policy that meets independent standards for at least one of the following high-priority categories: furnishings, foodware, cleaning products.|
|The city’s eco-friendly purchasing policy applies to all requests for proposals (RFPs) and contracts.|