Monday, August 27, 2012

Finland: Schools suffer from indoor air pollution

Classrooms may be making your kids sick
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
Over the past several years, countless studies have been made on dampness and moisture in buildings throughout Finland. In 2007, researchers chose 630 random houses and apartments that were built between 1950 and 1989 for their study. Of those homes, 51 percent had moisture problems; 33 percent of those had moderate to severe issues, particularly in houses. 

Many respiratory diseases, eye irritations and allergies have been directly linked to the moisture problem across the country.

The National Public Health Institute revealed in 2007 that there was a strong correlation between damp homes and the prevalence of asthma among children. Up to one in five asthma cases could be linked to water damage in the home.

A new study, made by the Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ,) has now discovered that moisture issues extend beyond the home. Up to two thirds of the schools and day-cares across the country have indoor air quality issues. Approximately 80 percent of the buildings in Finland, schools and day-cares included, are not sufficiently ventilated.

Water damage in some of the damp schools is so bad that recommendations have been made to tear them down, rather than try to repair them. Though poor indoor air quality in schools have been an issue for over fifteen years now, some people believe the issue is still not being handled properly. Remediation has been slow moving, leading to parents, in one town, taking matters into their own hands.

Tervajoki School in Vähäkyrö, Finland was shut down for a week while parents pulled their kids out of the school and promised to continue striking until changes were made. The school has since been relocated pending repairs or the building of a new school.

What do you think about the parents' strike? Would you do the same if  you thought your kids were at risk? Let us know!

Improving indoor air quality in schools

Apart from the home, kids spend most of their time at school. Considering the astronomical number of children with asthma today (7 million in US), it is extremely important that the quality of the air in schools is up to par.

Removing mold is the most important first step to solving indoor air pollution in schools. Many schools in North America have been shut down recently for precisely that reason. If a school is dealing with elevated moisture, however, ventilation is the first plan of action.

Electrocorp offers air cleaners that can complement remediation and ventilation efforts within schools and universities. Our units use two different types of filters to help remove harmful chemicals, gases and particles from the air: the HEPA filter (for particles) and the activated carbon filter (for chemicals and gases). An optional UV germicidal lamp will also help remove mold, bacteria and viruses, thereby resulting in better air quality for both students and staff.

For more information on our air cleaners, contact Electrocorp.

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