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Acronyms and Definitions (Appendix D)

Chemical sensitivity

Chemical sensitivity is hypersensitivity or intolerance to many chemicals at very low exposures or concentrations. Chemical sensitivity differs from an allergic reaction because while medical tests can confirm allergies, effective tests are not available for chemical sensitivity. Physicians hold a wide range of views about the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of this condition; also referred to as “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity” or MCS.


To help meet the growing demand for green and “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) certification, the ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard & Certification Program has expanded to include “Green Building” (GB) criteria and an optional GB designation.


A product that should be substantially diluted with water to form the appropriate solution for use (typically at least 1:8, or as appropriate for the particular product category).


A process for hard inanimate surfaces undertaken to destroy or irreversibly inactivate infectious fungi and bacteria, but not necessarily their spores.

Environmentally Preferable Product

A product certified as such by a Type 1 (i.e., third-party) environmental label that was developed in accordance with the ISO 14024 Environmental Labeling Standard. Alternatively, a product may be designated as environmentally preferable by an established and legitimate, nationally recognised program developed with the purpose of identifying environmentally preferable products. The program should not have any financial interest or stake in sales of the product, or other conflict of interest. Such designation should be based on consideration of human health and safety, ecological toxicity, other environmental impacts, and resource conservation, as appropriate, for the product and its packaging, on a life cycle basis. Product criteria should distinguish market leadership for that product category, and be publicly available and transparent.

GS-42 Certification

Green Seal, a non-profit certification body, has established GS-42, the environmental practice standard for commercial cleaning services. The program involves onsite audits and other criteria for certification of a service as environmentally preferable.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

An integrated approach to controlling pests—and keeping populations at an acceptable level using prevention, observation, and intervention—with the goal of reducing or eliminating pesticide use.


The LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) Rating System helps building owners and operators measure operations, improvements and maintenance on a consistent scale, with the goal of maximising operational efficiency while minimising environmental impacts. LEED for Existing Buildings addresses whole-building cleaning and maintenance issues (including chemical use), recycling programs, exterior maintenance programs, and systems upgrades. It can be applied both to existing buildings seeking LEED certification for the first time and to projects previously certified under LEED. (adapted from LEED)

Example Credits

Credit 3.1 Green Cleaning—High Performance Cleaning Program 1
Credit 3.2 Green Cleaning—Custodial Effectiveness Assessment 1
Credit 3.3 Green Cleaning—Purchase of Sustainable Cleaning Productsand Materials 1
Credit 3.4 Green Cleaning—Sustainable Cleaning Equipment 1
Credit 3.5 Green Cleaning—Indoor Chemical and Pollutant Source Control 1
Credit 3.6 Green Cleaning—Indoor Integrated Pest Management

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

MSDS forms are required for a wide range of products, mainly chemicals, under the laws of the U.S., Canada, and several other nations, to promote occupational health and safety. Material Safety Data Sheets are specific to each applicable product. They contain manufacturer contact information, hazardous ingredients, fire safety, explo-sion and reactivity data, health hazards, precautions for safe handling, and use and control measures, such as protection for skin, eyes, or lungs.


A process intended to reduce, but not necessarily eliminate, microorganisms from the inanimate environment to levels considered safe as determined by public health codes or regulations.

Type I Eco-label

Defined by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) as a certification program that compares products/services with others in the same category, applies stringent scientific criteria reflecting the full lifecycle impact of the product, and identifies products or services in compliance with the criteria as verified by an independent third party.

Vulnerable Populations

Vulnerable populations represent people who are more susceptible than the general population to chemicals and products that might pose a risk to human health. These populations include but are not limited to children, pregnant women, the elderly and infirm, people sensitive to chemical exposures (e.g., fragrances), and other occupants, customers, or employees that may have a higher susceptibility to cleaning operations.


CRI Carpet and Rug Institute
dBA Decibels
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
F&C Food and cosmetics
HMIS Hazardous Materials Identification System
HVAC Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
IPM Integrated pest management
LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
(U.S. Green Building Council)
MSDS Material safety data sheet
OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
PHA Public Housing Authority
PPE Personal protective equipment
SOP Standard operating procedure
VOC Volatile organic compound


Appendix A: Housing Complex-Specific Green Cleaning Plan
Appendix B: Environmentally Preferable Cleaning Products and Supplies
Appendix C: Powered Equipment Use and Maintenance Plan
Appendix D: Acronyms and Definitions in This Chapter
Appendix E: Toxicity Categories for Pesticide and Disinfectant Products

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