Back to School – Does The Indoor Air Quality There Matter?

Lots of things go through our minds as parents about our kids and their return to school.  We obsess over their schedules and supplies and clothes and shoes and lunches and, well, just about everything.  It makes me wonder if we are giving enough thought to the air they are breathing inside those school buildings.  If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where there are fairly new buildings the concern probably shouldn’t be as great.  However, most of the schools we send our children to are far from new builds.

So, what are some of the ways that the air quality in our schools is being compromised?  Here is just a short list of some of the issues that can cause problems in our schools:

Presence of moisture, water damage and microbiological pollutants.
Animal and other biological allergens.
Combustion byproducts such as nitrogen dioxide.
Moisture or dirt in HVAC systems.
Low ventilation rates.
Chemicals in cleaning products.
Outdoor pollutants or vehicle exhaust.

None of those sound good to me.  It has also been found that these issues cause more than just health issues.  Of course, addressing these issues will obviously help with health issues.  Helping with health issues will decrease the absentee rate for students, teachers and staff. Also, addressing these indoor air quality issues has been found to increase student performance and even standardized test scores.

This is really good to know.  Of course, we still need to know what we can do about it.  I’ll discuss that further in my next blog.  Stay tuned!


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