Safe Chemical Management in Schools

From maintenance closets to chemistry labs, schools use a variety of chemicals. Not managed properly, chemicals can pose health and safety risks to students, school personnel and the environment and result in loss of education time and considerable expense. Toxic chemicals can cause health problems ranging from mild irritation of the eyes, skin, nose and throat, to more serious health issues such as asthma attacks, cancer, brain and nervous system disorders, and organ damage. Children are particularly vulnerable to environmental exposures because their bodily systems are still developing; they eat, drink & breathe more in proportion to their body size; and their behavior can expose them more to chemicals. A proper chemical management program ensures a school is free from hazards associated with mismanaged chemicals. Learn more about safely managing chemicals in classrooms, labs and throughout the school and school grounds, as well as greener alternatives for products such as cleaning supplies and furnishings

Tip: Also visit our National & State Green School Programs page to learn more about local and national Green School programs and resources to help you improve the health & sustainability of your school!

Before You Start

Form an Action Team

Protect Students & Staff: Green Cleaning/Chemical Management

Design and Preparation

Conduct a General Environmental Review Checklist

Green Cleaning Program Assessment (products, etc.)

Conduct an Audit:

  • Healthy Schools Audit
  • Hazardous Materials Audit
  • Indoor Air Quality Audit
  • Laboratory Waste Audit
  • Pest Management Audit
  • EPA School Indoor Air Quality Assessment Mobile App
  • Implementation

    Action Plan Forms:

  • Healthy Schools Action Plan
  • Hazardous Materials Sample Action Plan & Blank Action Plan
  • Laboratory Chemicals Sample Action Plan & Blank Action Plan
  • Green Cleaning Sample & Blank Action Plans
  • Indoor Air Quality Sample Action Plan and Blank Action Plan
  • Pest Management Sample Action Plan and Blank Action Plan
  • School Chemical Management & Clean-Out Initiatives:

  • Quick Tips: Chemical Management in Schools (EPA)
  • Quick Tips: Reduce Exposure to Educational, Art & Science Supply Hazards
  • EPA: Managing Chemicals in Schools
  • Actions to Reduce School Chemical & Environmental Contaminant Hazards
  • Toolkits:

  • Toolkit for Safe Chemical Management in K-12 Schools
  • Chemical Management Resource Guide for School Administrators
  • School Chemical Clean-Out Toolkit
  • Purchasing Green & Sustainable Products

    Green Cleaning for Schools

    Implement an Integrated Pest Management Program

    Also see: Ventilation, Air Quality

    Using Your Project

    EPA Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides & Online Resources for Educators

    Eco Schools K-12 Resources for Educators

    Eco Schools National Standards & Curriculum Alignment

    Eco Schools Green STEM Initiative

    Green Education Foundation: Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

    Learning Lab Sustainability Lessons

    Project Learning Tree Curriculum Offerings

    Sharing Your Project

    Downloadable Green Cleaning Posters & PowerPoints

    Involve Parents in Creating a Healthy Indoor School Environment

    Create Signs About Green Cleaning, Green Products & Chemical Safety

    Resource Center

    Project Resource Library: Learn More!
    National & State Green School Programs
    Bay Backpack Teaching Resources Search Engine
    EPA: Healthy Schools, Healthy Kids!
    Healthy Schools Campaign: Green Clean Schools
    EPA Learning & Teaching About the Environment (awards, resources, more)