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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Environmental exposures troubles schools

Old and new schools can have poor
indoor air quality.
While many (if not most) schools suffer from poor indoor air quality that can range from
  • Dust
  • Allergens
  • Chemicals (from cleaning products, arts products, labs)
  • Mold
  • Bacteria, viruses
  • And other toxins
There are some environmental exposures that parents likely wouldn’t even think about.

In a previous blog post we have written about schools suffering from vapor intrusion involving the toxic chemical TCE (trichloroethylene) and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) leaking from old light fixtures in classrooms.

A recent article by iWatch News detailed the environmental law violations that may affect the health and well-being of thousands of children in tribal schools.

The schools, run by the Interior Department, have been found to expose children to hazardous waste, asbestos in the heating systems and high levels of arsenic in the tap water. The Department of the Interior recently entered a settlement with EPA to take the necessary action for remediation.

The article also mentioned the poor indoor air quality affecting the children of the US military personnel.

Other IAQ concerns that may affect school-age children:

Pesticides – Are chemical pesticides being sprayed on or around the school’s property? Experts warn strongly against pesticide exposure for children, as it has been linked with numerous health symptoms.

Air pollution – is the school in an industrial area? The air pollution outside may have profound effects on the children’s ability to learn, to retain information and it can cause or aggravate respiratory disorders.

Toxic paint chips – Older schools can become an IAQ problem-zone, especially when old paint is peeling, as it may contain lead or in the case of a Boston-area school, traces of the toxic chemical PCB.


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Related posts concerning IAQ in schools:
    

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