Healthy Schools and Indoor Air Quality
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Creating Healthy Indoor Environments in Schools
EPA provides resources for school officials and staff, teachers, health care professionals, parents, and students to help improve indoor air quality in schools. Read more about:
- Why It's Important
- What You Can Do
- Studies show that one-half of our nation's 115,000 schools have problems linked to indoor air quality (IAQ).
- Students are at greater risk because of the hours spent in school facilities and because children are often susceptible to pollutants.
- The health and comfort of students and teachers are among the many factors that contribute to learning and productivity in the classroom, which in turn affect performance and achievement.
- Ensure proper maintenance of the school's HVAC system to promote ventilation.
- Install and regularly replace filters (high efficiency, if possible).
- Install carbon monoxide detectors, especially near combustion sources (e.g., boilers, stoves, hot water heaters).
- Be sure to consider indoor air quality in the design of a new school building.
- Read the Ensure Good Ventilation component of EPA's model school environmental health program with actions for schools to improve the quality of indoor air.
EPA and Federal Partners
- Best Practices for Reducing Near-Road Air Pollution Exposure at Schools by EPA can be used by schools to reduce exposure to traffic-related air pollution.
- Creating Healthy Indoor Air Quality in Schools by EPA provides in-debth resources for schools. Also see EPA's Indoor Air Quality website which provides information about broader indoor air quality issues.
- Energy Savings Plus Health: IAQ Guidelines for School Building Upgrades by EPA equips school districts to integrate indoor air quality protections into school energy efficiency retrofits and other building upgrade projects. The guidelines help school districts starting the building retrofit process to optimize energy efficiency upgrades without compromising occupant health.
- Indoor Air Quality Scientific Findings Resource Bank summarizes scientific knowledge about the relationships between people's health and productivity and indoor air conditions or associated building characteristics in which the people work or reside. The Resource Bank is run by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Indoor Environment Group and is funded through an interagency agreement with EPA.
- School IAQ Assessment mobile app by EPA provides schools and school districts with strategies for addressing critical building-related environmental health issues such as ventilation, cleaning and maintenance, environmental asthma triggers, radon, and integrated pest management. The app complements existing indoor air quality management programs and can be used as the central tracking mechanism to organize building assessments and prioritize improvements.
- Sensible Steps for Healthier School Environments - Indoor Air Quality/Ventilation by EPA provides an overview of issues related to indoor air quality and ventilation in schools.
- Tools for Schools Indoor Air Quality Video EXIT by Rutgers University, with support from EPA, presents a two-part video to help identify, prevent and treat common IAQ issues that may arise in schools.
The following links exit the site Exit
IAQ Champions in your area can help with peer-to-peer learning and sharing.
- Database of State Indoor Air Quality Laws, maintained by the Environmental Law Institute, is a compilation of laws that reflect a wide range of policy strategies enacted in the states. You may also download excerpts addressing radon, mold and schools.
- Healthy Air at School on the American Lung Association website helps individuals recognize indoor air quality problems and protect the air at school.
- Indoor Air Quality in Schools: Resource List by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities offers an annotated list of links, books and journal articles addressing indoor air quality issues in K-12 school buildings, including building materials, maintenance practices, renovation procedures and ventilation systems.
State and Local Entities
- California Department of Public Health - Indoor Air Quality Program provides fact sheets on indoor air quality issues affecting schools and links for more information.
- Minnesota Department of Health - Indoor Air Quality in Schools describes the state's indoor air quality planning model for schools and explains actions you can take to improve IAQ in your school.
- Northwest Clean Air Agency (NWCAA) - Indoor Air Quality provides facts and classroom activities related to air quality and climate change. NWCAA serves schools in Island, Skagit and Whatcom Counties in Washington State.
- Washington State Department of Health - Indoor Air Quality provides consultation, technical assistance and training to local health jurisdictions, school districts and the public on the health effects of exposure to indoor air contaminants such as mold, asbestos and formaldehyde.