IAQ Tools for Schools
IAQ Reference Guide
This common-sense guidance is designed to help you prevent and solve the majority of indoor air problems with minimal cost and involvement
Table of Contents
- Why IAQ Is Important to Your School
- Understanding IAQ Problems
- Effective Communication
- Resolving IAQ Problems
- Diagnosing IAQ Problems
- Solving IAQ Problems
- Appendix A - Hiring Professional Assistance
- Appendix B - Basic Measurement Equipment
- Appendix C - Codes and Regulation
- Appendix D - Asthma
- Appendix E - Typical Indoor Air Pollutants
- Appendix F - Secondhand Smoke
- Appendix G - Radon
- Appendix H - Mold and Moisture
- Appendix I - Emissions from Motor Vehicles and Equipment
- Appendix J - Portable Classrooms
- Appendix K - Integrated Pest Management
- Appendix L - Resources
- Appendix M - Glossary and Acronyms
Understanding the importance of good indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools is the backbone of developing an effective IAQ program. Poor IAQ can lead to a large variety of health problems and potentially affect comfort, concentration, and staff/student performance. In recognition of tight school budgets, this guidance is designed to present practical and often low-cost actions you can take to identify and address existing or potential air quality problems. You can accomplish this using current school staff to perform a limited and well-defined set of basic operations and maintenance activities. However, some actions may require specialized expertise.
Sections 1 and 2 of this Guide help schools understand how IAQ problems develop, the importance of good IAQ, and its impact on students, staff, and building occupants. Communicating this important information with students, staff, parents, and the community is the next step, which is outlined in Section 3. Schools dealing with an IAQ crisis will find the section on communication particularly helpful. Sections 4, 5 and 6 contain valuable information for schools that need assistance diagnosing and responding to IAQ problems with inexpensive, practical solutions.
Refer to the appendices of this Guide for detailed information on IAQ-related topics including mold, radon, secondhand smoke, asthma, and portable classrooms. Schools may find the explanations of integrated pest management programs, typical indoor air pollutants, and pollutants from motor vehicles and equipment helpful while developing school policies or pinpointing sources of poor IAQ. In addition, schools investigating or resolving IAQ problems may want to refer to appendices on basic measurement equipment, hiring professional assistance, and codes and regulations. There are numerous resources available to schools through EPA and other organizations, many of which are listed in Appendix L. Use the information in this Guide to create the best possible learning environment for students and maintain a comfortable, healthy building for school occupants.
Any information gathered using this Action Kit is for the benefit and use of schools and school districts. EPA does not require retention or submission of any information gathered, and EPA has no regulatory or enforcement authority regarding general indoor air quality in schools. This Action Kit has been reviewed in accordance with EPA's policies. Information provides the current scientific and technical understanding of the issues presented. Following the advice given will not necessarily provide complete protection in all situations or against all hazards that may be caused by indoor air pollution.
Mention of any trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.
Please note the following as you prepare to use this Action Kit:
- This Action Kit is not intended as a substitute for appropriate emergency action in a hazardous situation that may be immediately threatening to life or safety.
- Modification of building functions, equipment, or structure to remedy air quality complaints may create other indoor air quality problems and may impact life-safety systems and energy use. A thorough understanding of all the factors that interact to create indoor air quality problems can help avoid this undesirable outcome. Consult with professionals as necessary.
- In the event that medical records are used while evaluating an IAQ problem, maintain confidentiality.
This Action Kit contains public information that may be produced or modified in whole or in part without permission. If the Action Kit or its contents are reproduced or modified, EPA would appreciate knowing how it is used. Please write to: IAQ Tools for Schools Program, Indoor Environments Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, MC-6609J, Washington, DC 20460
For more information, see www.epa.gov/iaq
Indoor Environments Division, 6609J
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
Federation of Teachers
555 New Jersey Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
School Business Officials
11401 North Shore Drive
Reston, VA 22090
|National Education Association
1201 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036-3290
|National Parent Teachers
330 North Wabash Avenue, Suite 2100
Chicago, IL 60611-3690
|American Lung Association
New York, NY 10019