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Dangers of Restaurant Cleaning Chemicals
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For the past 5 years, the Green Hospitality Initiative (GHI), a program funded by the Environmental Protection Agency under the sponsorship of the New York State Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, has been studying the impact of hazardous restaurant cleaning chemicals on restaurant staff, customers and the greater environment. This article will summarize the key effects of these chemicals and offer alternative options for those owners willing to rethink the way kitchens can be cleaned. For operators who insist on continuing to use the traditional chemicals, we will list ways of minimizing their risks. Finally, we will present specific strategies that businesses in flood zones should strongly consider when handling cleaning chemicals.

Within the hospitality industry, there exists a myth that only the most caustic and highly toxic chemicals are capable of adequately cleaning commercial kitchens. Very often, business owners as well as the lowest paid and least trained staff who directly use these products, have no real understanding of their side effects. Recently, there’s been a significant shift in the industry, as a new wave of low and non-toxic highly effective and cost efficient products are making their way into more and more food service operations. As a greater number of consumers and entrepreneurs become educated to the hazards of typical commercial kitchen cleaning products, we believe this alternative movement will continue to grow and eventually be common practice. For those interested in researching effective low and or non-toxic cleaning chemicals, two dependable sources are the EPA’s Safer Choice Program and Green Seal approved products. The GHI also provides reliable suppliers to contact through our website ( or contact us at

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