Wednesday, August 10, 2011

IAQ challenge: Keeping schools healthy

Children can be affected by poor
indoor air quality in schools.
Facility management involves a lot of different factors, but indoor air quality is a recurring theme when it comes to problems reported in schools.

Right now, parents in New York City with children at the Bronx New School have to come to terms with the fact that the school needs to be closed because it is contaminated with high levels of the toxic chemical TCE (trichloroethylene).

The school was housed in a former industrial building and the problem was detected because air quality tests were undertaken as part of a lease renewal.

TCE is a toxic chemical that causes headaches and dizziness when breathed in small quantities. In larger doses, the chemical can kill or lead to nerve, liver and kidney damage.

Some parents are not surprised, saying their children have become sick after attending the school.

Authorities may have known about the chemical contamination for more than six months before acting on it, an article in the Daily News charges.

Mold another common IAQ concern in schools

Mold growth can develop quickly, especially if a building suffers from water damage like a leaking roof, a broken pipe or any other excessive humidity issues.

These problems need to be fixed right away, since mold can start growing in a matter of 24-48 hours.

Once mold is allowed to grow, it can affect the health and well-being of certain individuals (students, teachers and administrative staff). Health effects include nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, skin irritation, fever and shortness of breath, says the US Centers for Disease Control.

In some instances, like a recent example at a Chicago area elementary school, the mold can grow behind walls or above the ceilings and may not be visible at first.

At this school, mold remediation and renovation costs are estimated at almost $290,000.

Make indoor air quality a priority in schools
The RAP Series feature chemical,
particle and pathogen protection.

Poor indoor air quality has been associated with a wide range of concerns and problems, including possible health effects, aggravated symptoms, less productivity and learning ability, lower test scores and more absences.

Electrocorp has designed portable, stand-alone as well as HVAC-compatible air cleaners for schools and universities that provide a cost-effective and powerful air cleaning solution, removing indoor air pollutants such as chemicals, odors, particles, gases, fumes, bacteria, viruses and mold.

Electrocorp air scrubbers use a multistage filtration system with granular activated carbon (for chemicals and odors) and HEPA (for particles and pathogens) as well as UV (for bacteria, viruses and mold).

The air cleaners require little to no maintenance, they are robust and can be moved around to areas where they are needed most.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and available features.

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