ISSA & CIRI Announce Cleaning Standard Partnership Efforts to Focus on the Science of Cleaning and Hygiene in K-12 Schools

ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, and the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI) announced today that they have agreed to enter a long-term partnership for the cooperative development of science-based cleaning standards that would develop industry data, training, measurement, and certification programs. The first initiative this joint partnership will undertake is to fund a series of independent research initiatives leading to the development of a Clean Standard for K-12 schools. The partnership supports one of the ISSA strategic initiatives as set forth by the ISSA Board of Directors: to identify the link between cleaning, science, and occupant health.

A signing ceremony took place on June 10 at 3:00 p.m., during the CIRI Symposium, June 9-12, 2008, at the Inn and Conference Center of the University of Maryland at its Adelphi, MD, campus.

“CIRI functions to make the connection between science and cleaning,” said CIRI Chairman Jim Harris. “The CIRI Symposium will feature research scientists from around the world reporting on specific issues, such as hospital- or community-acquired infectious disease and control, including MRSA, and cleaning-science research in special environments.”

ISSA Executive Director John Garfinkel said, “The ISSA project is to make the connection between science and cleaning for health. We are very pleased to fund such a worthwhile independent effort to identify and develop standards for cleanliness, utilizing a group of highly credentialed scientists and researchers. The CIRI Clean Standard Science Committee managing this much-needed research will be free from any outside influences or biases, including any from ISSA, CIRI, or the staff, board, or members of either organization.

"Many other facility-services industries have long been based in engineering and science while our industry has largely had to prove its public-health value based on assumptions and perceptions. Today, we want to remove any doubt about the benefits cleaning brings to facilities and their occupants, and we hope this initiative will bring the independent scientific verification many facility managers have been requesting.”

Following a significant period of laboratory and field testing, ISSA will lead the process of creating standards and certification based on the scientific findings, involving key stakeholders in the cleaning, facilities management, and education industries.

“Each organization will do what it does best during this project,” said Harris. “CIRI will conduct research on measurement methods and current conditions in K-12 schools. ISSA will use the results as a basis for developing standards regarding what defines ‘clean’ in these very important and sensitive environments.”

Dr. Steven Spivak, CIRI science chair and professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, is also looking forward to the new partnership: “We are pleased that the K-12 Clean Standard will be the launching point for this long-term partnership in cleaning science and related certification programs. ISSA is at the forefront of professional development and elevation of the cleaning industry. This partnership will lead to the definition of what is clean under real-world conditions, in specific school environments as well as how it is measured and how it is achieved.”

The goal of the project is that individuals and organizations can then be certified with respect to their knowledge and use of methods that lead to measurable improvements in school cleanliness and hygiene, a topic of great concern to a large percentage of the public, especially those with children in K-12 environments or those who work within them.

The research will be conducted by CIRI through a Cleaning Standards Science Committee (CSSC), which will be established specifically for this project. The committee will be organized by Spivak along with Dr. Gene Cole of Brigham Young University, who was instrumental in developing the overall research plan the partners have agreed to pursue.

The CSSC will regularly report the project’s progress to a Joint Task Force to be composed of ISSA and CIRI representatives and stakeholders from the K-12 sector.

About CIRI


CIRI’s mission is to raise awareness of the importance of cleaning through scientific research. Our 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.

About ISSA


The leading trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide, ISSA has a membership of more than 5,500 distributor, manufacturer, manufacturer representative, building service contractor, in-house service provider, and associated service members. ISSA offers the industry’s largest cleaning shows in conjunction with Amsterdam RAI under the brand name ISSA/INTERCLEAN, the popular Web site, publications, educational products, industry standards, 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; Monterrey, Mexico; Singapore; 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