ISSA and CIRI Begin Development of Clean Standard: K-12

ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, and the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI) have begun the process of developing a Clean Standard for K-12 schools that ultimately will promote clean and healthy indoor environments in educational facilities across the nation to the benefit of children’s learning experiences.

“ISSA is excited to see yet another initiative begin to bear fruit in the organization’s overall goal of changing the way the world views cleaning,” said ISSA Executive Director John Garfinkel. “Funding provided by the ISSA Foundation put us in a unique position to do the research – we are now ready to marshal the resources of ISSA, CIRI, and the industry to develop, promote, and implement the first science-based cleaning standard in this market.”

After recently completing three years of extensive field research, both organizations are proud to say that the scientific research team, under the tutelage of renowned scientists Dr. Eugene Cole and Dr.

Richard Shaughnessy, has completed collection, analysis and verification of the data necessary to support a Clean Standard: K-12.

A 27-member Development Committee comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders from the educational, facilities management, and cleaning industries will review the research data and specify quantitative and qualitative levels of cleaning acceptable in the standard. The comittee will also specify measurement methods and the management and technical skills necessary to implement the standard. The Clean Standard: K-12 will be performance-oriented (i.e., focused on results) and nonprescriptive (i.e., not favoring any particular cleaning products or processes).

“Science-based clean standards are something CIRI has been advocating since we started in 2005,” said CIRI Executive Director Jim Harris,. “The industry needs these standards to raise both the level of performance and professionalism in the field.”

The Research

The research team focused its three-year project on validating cleaning measurement tools and methods, and then applied these findings to 28 schools in a 70-school district in the southwest United States Thousands of ATP measurements were taken of bacterial Rodac plates, settled dust, indoor air measures, and building conditions to learn whether practical existing tools and processes were available to consistently measure the level of cleanliness in real-world conditions. Findings show that ATP can provide a reliable measure of cleanliness, and that reductions in ATP correlated with reductions in bacterial count based on Rodac plate measurement. Moreover, the research has demonstrated that consistent cleaning results can be obtained on a variety of surfaces common in K-12 schools.

“This deep data base provides the support needed for a scientifically sound clean standard,” said Dr. Steven Spivak, who chairs CIRI’s Science Advisory Council. “We can measure clean and demonstrate the different levels of clean achievable with the cleaning processes used in our industry. Now is the time to wrap this all up in a clear, understandable, and actionable standard for use by cleaning and facility managers and their stakeholders.”

The Development Process

The committee is currently reviewing a draft approach modeled after the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points – or HACCP – process used in the food industry to maintain sanitary conditions.
“This process will assure that the most critical and highest-touch points will be emphasized in the standard,” said Spivak. “It also will build on a very successful existing standard that has served the food industry well.”

Members of the Development Committee include:

  • School facility managers and APPA representatives
  • The Healthy Schools Campaign
  • The National Association of State Boards of Education
  • The American Federation of Teachers
  • Manufacturers and distributors of cleaning products
  • Contract cleaning service providers focused in the K-12 market
  • Industry consultants
  • Academia.

In addition, a Stakeholder Committee comprised of more than 60 organizations has been formed to review the work of the Development Committee as well as to provide input and feedback on various draft versions of the standard.

“The Stakeholder Committee provides an added layer of review to ensure the standard is actionable and easily implemented by cleaning service providers and that it achieves our goal of cleaner and healthier educational facilities,” said ISSA Director of Environmental Services Bill Balek,.

The committees will meet repeatedly over the next several months, including at ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America 2012, to develop and review the standard. In addition, the Clean Standard: K-12 will be the focus of a joint CIRI and ISSA Symposium expected to occur in mid-2013.
For more information on the development of the Clean Standard: K-12, visit or contact Bill Balek at [email protected]; phone, 800-225-4772 (North America) or 847-982-0800.

About CIRI

The Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI) mission is to raise awareness of the importance of cleaning through scientific research. Its goal is to expand on existing research, help members to be more effective, improve people’s understanding of the importance of cleaning, and influence the development of public policy. For more information, visit CIRI’s all new Web site

About ISSA

The leading trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide, ISSA has a membership that includes more than 6,000 distributor, manufacturer, manufacturer representative, building service contractor, in-house service provider, and associated service members. In its role as the worldwide cleaning industry association, ISSA is helping its members change the way the world views cleaning – promoting it as an investment in human health the environment, and an improved bottom line.

ISSA offers the industry’s largest cleaning shows, produced in conjunction with its trade show partner Amsterdam RAI, under the brand name ISSA/INTERCLEAN, the popular ISSA Web site, educational products, industry standards, periodicals, purchasing tools, and legislative and regulatory services that specifically focus on the professional cleaning industry.
The association is headquartered in Lincolnwood, Il., USA, with regional offices in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Leicester, United Kingdom; Monterrey, Mexico; and Shanghai, China. ISSA also works with more than 75 associations, alliances, and government agencies around the world to represent the cleaning industry. For more information, visit


ISSA Director of Environmental Services Bill Balek at [email protected]; phone, 800-225-4772 (North America) or 847-982-0800
ISSA Media Communications & Publications Director Lisa Veeck at [email protected]; phone, 800-225-4772 (North America) or 847-982-0800.