Air Quality In American Schools

When you send your child to school you expect that they will be safe and looked after, however, there is one hidden danger that you much educate yourself about to ensure your child is not being exposed to it at his or her school. Poor indoor air quality or poor IAQ is a problem that plagues many schools in the United States. There are several symptoms and warning signs that you should be aware of that could indicate that your child's school is experiencing and air quality issue. Some of the problems are temporary and easily fixed, while others require extensive construction projects to remedy them. There are several resources for you when it comes to finding information about what could be causing your child's school to have indoor air quality problems. These are some of the most common causes of indoor air quality troubles at schools and a few ways they can be solved.

The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA is one of the main resources for parents who are concerned about the air their children are breathing at school. Looking into the EPA's Tools for Schools program, is one of the best ways you can educate yourself about air quality problems. If your child is coming home from school repeatedly with a headache or runny nose there is a chance the quality of air in your child's class room is lower than it should be. Children do often catch colds but if their symptoms improve at home and then worsen again when they return to school that is a good sign that your child is experiencing and allergic reaction to something at the school.

One of the most common issues that schools face in regards to air quality is mold. Mold can develop anywhere that the building's roof or foundation has been compromised and moisture is allowed to build up. School ceiling tiles or heating and cooling systems are a common place mold can be found. Schools that have taken steps to monitor their air quality and remove mold and other air contaminants have seen a dramatic decrease in student and teacher absences and a decrease in reported asthma attacks. If you suspect mold growth is present at your child's school you should request a simple mold test be performed to identify the problem.

Carpet is also another culprit in the school air quality problems American schools experience. There are short and long term air quality issues associated with carpet being installed in classrooms. Most schools install carpet at the beginning of the summer when students are not in class. This is the best way to avoid exposing the children and students to fumes from the glues and other products used during the installation process. However, it is important that the class room be ventilated properly after installation to avoid toxic air build up. Most carpet manufactures suggest a 72 hour ventilation period after the installation to allow all glue fumes to dissipate. The long term negative effect carpet can have on air quality, happens when carpet is not properly cleaned and dust and other particulate matter builds up in the carpet fibers. Class room carpets should be deep cleaned regularly and class rooms should all be outfitted with proper air filters to keep the air clean and the teachers and children healthy.

Offering to assist you child's school with programs that will improve the schools air quality is a great way to get involved in your child's education and help keep their environment clean and healthy.

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