How big a problem is poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools?
Indoor levels of air pollutants can be two to five times higher (and occasionally 100 times higher) than outdoor levels. Nearly 56 million people (approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population) spend their days inside elementary and secondary schools. In 1999, the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education reported that approximately 25 percent of public schools described unsatisfactory ventilation, while 20 percent of schools told of unsatisfactory IAQ. IAQ problems can cause discomfort and contribute to short- and long-term health problems for students and staff.