Case study: A safe school for chemically-sensitive students

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Very little is known about ‘chemical sensitivity’, a group of symptoms experienced by a small but growing number of individuals. Sufferers can experience a range of unpleasant symptoms, such as allergic reactions and respiratory irritation, when exposed to particular chemicals in their environment.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly which substances trigger reactions in chemically-sensitive individuals. Cleaning products can often contain a variety of substances that bring about adverse reactions in susceptible individuals – and since they’re so ubiquitous, venturing outside the house can be painful.

Hughes Primary School, ACT, was faced with the challenge of finding ways to create a safe and inclusive environment for students with chemical sensitivities. Where previous schools had been unwilling to alter their whole-school practices to cater for these students, Hughes Primary, with their focus on sustainability, were ready to try after hearing parents’ concerns.

Tersano Australia was able to provide the school with their Lotus Pro cleaning system, which transforms water into Stabilised Aqueous Ozone, an effective cleaner, stain remover, sanitiser and deodoriser – all without any dyes, fragrances, or other harsher, harmful substances.

Principal of Hughes Primary School, Kate Smith, says making the switch has made “a world of difference” in the two specialist classrooms that cater for students with chemical sensitivities. “We’d like the product used across the whole school,” she said. “It’s made a really measurable difference – these students now have a lovely energy and ability to focus in classes now that they’re not overly stimulated. Their productivity and learning efficiency has really improved.”

The school previously tried cleaning with a solution of vinegar and water, but this proved to be “a bit of a hassle”. However, cleaning with aqueous ozone has proved to be highly effective, even in areas such as urinals, and makes for a safer learning environment for affected students. It also has health benefits for the cleaning staff and teachers.

“Nora and the team at Tersano have been absolutely amazing – they’ve given us articles to read and the whole process of switching to this new system has been effortless,” said Kate.

The Tersano Lotus Pro unit is certified with GECA under the Cleaning Products standard, providing assurance that the product is a better choice from an environmental, health and social perspective, while being an effective cleaning solution.