Associated Press Environmentally friendly cleaning products may not make the cut

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. - Yellowstone National Park's switch to environmentally friendly cleaning products has left some housekeepers clamoring for a return to more conventional products.

Marti Tobias, director of lodging for Yellowstone's main concessionaire, AmFac Parks & Resorts, said some housekeepers and janitors were wanting to switch back to more powerful chemical cleaners after using the "green" cleaners last summer.

"They were having film on the showers and tackiness on the floors," Tobias said.

Park janitors and custodians turned in their less-environmentally friendly cleaners a year ago, before the busy summer season began, in favor of new "green" cleaners that are not harmful to the environment.

Before the change, custodians were using nearly 130 different cleaners to do basic cleaning jobs. Now, they use just 15 green products.

But after a year, Tobias said she is not sure it is possible to keep park buildings clean without occasionally using more aggressive cleaning products.

For example, some park lodging guests have complained about the off-white appearance of their claw-foot tubs.

"We get into these philosophical discussions about what's clean," Tobias said. "What's acceptable to us, and what's acceptable to guests. We know it's clean but if the guest doesn't perceive that it's clean then there's a problem."

Despite the frustrations, park employees are committed to keeping Yellowstone clean while using the most environmentally friendly products possible, Tobias said.

Sophia Wakefield, a former housekeeper at neighboring Grand Teton National Park who helped lead the movement to green cleaners at the two parks, said the switch has had a positive health effects on housekeepers and janitors.

Nausea, sniffles, coughing and watery eyes that may have been caused by daily use of chemicals have virtually disappeared, Wakefield said.

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