Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Healthy Schools Day promotes IAQ awareness

Cleaner indoor air can help children and staff be more
productive and successful.
Many schools in the United States celebrate Healthy Schools Day on April 24, an important reminder about what a difference a healthy environment can make in a child’s life.

Children are among the most vulnerable groups when it comes to indoor air pollution and environmental toxins, and with them spending so much time in school, administrators, parents and communities need to do their part to protect the young learners.

According to the EPA, more than 53 million children and about 6 million adults attend more than 120,000 public and private school buildings.

The average child spends about 1,300 hours in a school building each year; teachers and other employees spend even longer periods.

Today, the average school building is about 42 years old.

The problem is that many schools are also in poor condition, and children may be exposed in varying degrees to common indoor air pollutants such as
  • Mold
  • Chemicals (VOCs)
  • Particles and allergens
  • Biological contaminants
  • Asbestos
  • Lead
  • Outdoor air pollutants from industrial emissions, vehicle emissions etc.
Exposure to indoor air pollution has been linked to respiratory problems, aggravated conditions, increased absenteeism, lower productivity and learning ability and more effects.

With their Healthy Schools program, the EPA is trying to help schools provide a healthier learning environment and reduce indoor air pollution as much as possible.

It starts with people getting on the same page and making a Healthy School a priority, getting informed, making a plan and implementing changes.

Some of the easy and effective changes could include:
  • Opening the windows regularly, or the transom over the door to encourage natural air flow
  • Keeping classrooms tidy and free of clutter
  • Banning pets and foods in class to avoid pests (and blocking pest entry points)
  • Using low-odor and non-toxic supplies such as water-based, unscented markers
  • Banning plug-in air fresheners and room deodorizers
  • Reducing the use of scented personal care products (perfume, cologne, scented hair sanitizers, etc.)
  • Minimizing the use of disinfectants and using certified green cleaning products – or simply hot water and soap
  • Reporting water leaks (however tiny) right away to avoid mold growth

Source: NHSD Classroom Tips

Worried about airborne chemicals, asthma and allergy triggers and more?

With the steps above, schools can significantly improve their indoor air quality, but the natural airflow is often compromised by unforgiving weather conditions, a lack of ventilation and a build-up of indoor air pollutants.

A simple air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA can remove the widest range of indoor air pollutants, including irritating chemicals and VOCs, odors, allergens, particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold.

HEPA filters alone only take care of particles and dust, a complete air filtration system needs a deep-bed activated carbon filter to adsorb chemicals, odors and gases.

Electrocorp has developed highly effective and long-lasting air cleaners for schools and universities that can be used in classrooms and other areas of questionable air quality (labs, arts and crafts rooms, locker rooms etc), or they may also be attached to the existing ventilation system.

For more information and recommendations, contact Electrocorp.

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