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Irving Schools and EPA Partner to Protect Children

Release Date: 5/5/1998
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the Irving Independent School District as the first Texas school district to use an Agency program to improve indoor air quality in all its campuses. Certificates were presented to board members at the May 4 School Board meeting.

"Recognizing the strides Irving ISD has made to improve the air children breathe is a great way to begin National Asthma Awareness Month. The Administration has made protecting our children's health a priority. EPA is committed to providing local schools the help they need to create a safe and healthy place for our children to learn," Acting Regional Administrator Jerry Clifford said.

A rapidly increasing number of America's children suffer from asthma. Environmental factors, particularly air pollution, are believed to be the leading cause of asthma. EPA's Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools program enables current staff to use cost-effective measures to protect our most vulnerable citizens from indoor pollutants.

Irving ISD Assistant Superintendent Jack Rambo said, "I would recommend Tools for Schools to any district. It has given us a systematic way to identify and remedy air quality problems, as well as recognize and prevent potential problems. We've found the remedies to be very inexpensive, and all things we would've done anyway. Tools for Schools is a great tool."

The program begins with a thorough examination of a campus to identify potential problems. This includes evaluating ventilation rates as well as finding areas that may encourage mold growth and areas where chemicals are used, such as copier rooms and labs.

Often relatively simple actions such as installing an exhaust fan in a copier room, switching to less toxic products or ensuring that air intake vents are unobstructed provide a healthier environment by eliminating or reducing the amount of harmful chemicals children breathe.

EPA Region 6 staff provided technical assistance by participating with Irving ISD employees in the initial evaluations of two elementary schools. Eight of the district's 27 campuses have begun implementing the program and the remaining schools are scheduled to begin soon.

The following elementary schools are using the program: John J. Brandenburg, John Haley, Thomas Haley, J.O. Schulze, W.T. Hanes, M.C. Lively, Albert Farine, and L.B. Barton.

The National Education Association, National Congress of Parents and Teachers, Council for American Private Education, American Federation of Teachers and the American Lung Association worked with EPA to create IAQ Tools for Schools.

EPA's goal is for every school in the five-state region to use IAQ Tools for Schools to improve indoor quality and protect our children's health.