you Need to Know About IAQ in Schools
spend a great deal of time indoors, particularly in
schools. While a school building should be an ideal
place for children to develop, thrive and learn, recent
studies have found that poor indoor air quality (IAQ)
is affecting children's health and their ability to
to the U.S. Department of Education nearly 73 million
people in the U.S., including 68.5 million children
(6 million of which have asthma), spend a significant
amount of time each day in more than 120,000 public
and private schools. Many of the school buildings
are in poor condition, which accounts for the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency's (US EPA) estimate
that 50 percent of U.S. schools have IAQ problems.
children spend so much time at school, maintaining
good IAQ in these environments is critical for minimizing
their exposure to potentially dangerous indoor air
pollutants. Numerous studies have shown that exposure
to low-level chemicals may affect children. In a 2006
review study, researchers from the Harvard School
of Public Health and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine
systematically examined publicly available data on
chemicals with the goal of identifying the industrial
chemicals that are neurotoxins and likely to damage
developing brains. The researchers found that 201
commonly used industrial chemicals may affect millions
of children worldwide. Visit www.hsph.harvard.edu/neurotoxicant/appendix.doc
for more information.
also have clear evidence that the quality of indoor
air is a factor in causing asthma. A recent study,
"Association of Domestic Exposure to Volatile
Organic Compounds with Asthma in Young Children,"
conducted by Rumchev K, Spickett J, Bulsara M et al.,
found that children exposed to high levels of volatile
organic compounds (VOCs) were four times more likely
to develop asthma than adults. Other studies have
also found an association between VOCs and asthma
in children. And, asthma cases are on the rise. Over
a 14 year period the proportion of children under
the age of five with asthma increased by 160 percent.
This is a cause for concern as asthma is the leading
cause of school absenteeism and hospitalizations in
children under the age of 15. An estimated 14 million
lost school days and $16 billion in annual health
care expenditures for both children and adults can
be attributed to asthma.
Quality Sciences, Inc. (AQS) measured VOC levels in
more than 200 U.S. schools and found 345 different
VOCs in the indoor air. Table 1 lists the 15 most
common VOCs found in these schools. Other frequently
found VOCs of concern in schools include perchloroethylene
and methylene chloride, potential carcinogens related
to spot cleaners, degreasers and art supplies.
1. Common VOCs found in schools || || || |
|VOC ||Source(s) ||VOC ||Source(s) |
construction materials ||Hexanal ||Cleaners,
adhesives, deodorizers |
construction materials ||2-Butoxyethanol ||Wood
cabinetry, cleaners, paints |
polishes, deodorants ||TXIB ||Cleaners,
ceiling tile, wood shelving, cabinetry ||Ethanol ||Disinfectants |
cleaners ||Acetaldehyde ||Plastics,
art supplies ||Longifolene ||Cleaners,
wood products, flooring |
deodorizers ||Naphthalene ||Adhesives,
art supplies |
air quality in schools affects more than children's
health. Poor indoor air quality also affects chidren's
ability to learn. As a part of its review and assessment
of the health and productivity benefits of green schools,
the National Research Council found "a robust
body of evidence indicating that the health of children
and adults can be affected by air quality in a school,"
and "a growing body of evidence [suggesting]
that teacher productivity and student learning, as
measured by absenteeism, may be affected by indoor
air quality as well."
National Research Council also noted that available
research suggests an association between the condition
of a school building and student achievement. For
example, a study conducted by the University of Tulsa
Indoor Air Program examined the ventilation rates
in 55 fifth grade elementary school classrooms and
student performance based on standardized math and
reading tests. The results showed that increased ventilation
rates had a significant impact on math and reading
test scores. There was a 14.7 percent increase in
math scores and a 13.7 percent increase in reading
scores with improved ventilation.
an effort to limit toxins released in the indoor environment,
the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) introduced
a cleaning standard for low-emitting cleaning chemicals
and processes that takes the sensitive nature of school
populations and the unique building characteristics
and maintenance conditions found in schools into consideration.
This standard presents the most rigorous product emissions
criteria to date for cleaning chemicals based on established
health criteria. Please visit www.greenguard.org
to view this standard.
through the GREENGUARD Children & Schools(SM)
program, GEI certifies a large range of low-emitting
products and materials used in sensitive environments
such as daycare and school facilities. Products certified
under GREENGUARD Children & Schools are tested
for more than 2,000 chemicals including phthalates.
For a complete list of GREENGUARD Children & Schools
certified products visit www.greenguard.org.
more information please read "Protecting Children's
Health" found at the Aerias - AQS IAQ Resource
Premium Content tab, which includes the references
cited in this article.
Dillon Fellowship for Indoor Environmental Quality
GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) is excited
to offer a $3,500 fellowship to a graduate or undergraduate
student for the fourth year in a row. The Ken Dillon
Memorial Fellowship for Indoor Environmental Quality
Design encourages multidisciplinary study of indoor
environments with a focus on indoor air quality and
its effect on health and/or productivity.
GEI is seeking student applicants interested in multidisciplinary
study of the relationship between indoor air quality
and public health in building design and construction.
To request an electronic application for GEI's Ken
Dillon Memorial Fellowship, students can send an email
request to firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 1.800.427.9681. Applications will be accepted
until November 14, 2008 at 5:00 PM EST.
GREENGUARD Environmental Institute often serves as
a resource for publications and media outlets, providing
information on various topics that relate to product
emissions and indoor air quality. The following lists
recent articles and features.
for a Healthier Environment
Receives ADEX Platinum Awards
Urban and Nicole Kidman Made a Green Room for Sunday
shoots for a LEED® Gold Rating with kama Energy
Building Systems Panels
read these and past articles, visit the Press Room/Articles
under the 'About GEI' tab on the GEI website. Read
the next few months, the GREENGUARD Environmental
Institute (GEI) will participate in several events.
August 20 - 23, 2008
October 15 - 17, 2008
November 5 - 8 2008
November 13-14 2008
Expo 2008 (Speaking and Exhibiting)
November 19 - 21, 2008
If you're going to Greenbuild this year be sure to
mark your calendars for November 19th and join us
Devines & Parris for
GREENGUARD's Annual Pub Night.
For more information, please visit the Events
tab listed under 'About GEI' and click on 2008
GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) is proud
to be a recognized USGBC
Education Provider, and provides numerous Continuing
Education Courses related to indoor air quality principles,
including the following:
Indoor Air by Design
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1 CEU), CSI (1-ECH),
the Air on IAQ: Making Sense of IAQ Standards and
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1 CEU), CSI (1-ECH)
Building Blocks for Healthy Indoor Air
Credits: AIA (1LU), IDCEC (0.1CEU), USGBC
Design to Prevent the Damaging Effects of Mold
Credits: AIA (1LU), CSI (1-ECH)
GEI is taking its Health, Safety and Human Welfare
courses on the road to architecture and design firms,
industry meetings, campuses and manufacturer showrooms
across the country. If your firm or group is interested
in learning more about these courses, please send
a request to email@example.com.
2008 GREENGUARD Environmental Institute |