Most children spend at least 35 hours a week in school buildings.
Good indoor air quality is an important part of a healthy school environment.
School air quality can be improved by choosing safer products and ensuring good ventilation that replaces polluted air with fresh air.
Indoor air can be five times as polluted as outdoor air. Poor ventilation, off-gassing from building materials, furnishings and cleaning products, presence of mold, pest control products, and art and science supplies are some of the factors that affect indoor air quality (IAQ) in school buildings. IAQ is also affected by temperature and humidity.
Many school buildings are old, poorly maintained, inadequately ventilated, and at high risk for IAQ problems. An estimated one third of school ventilation and air filtration systems are rated as fair or poor and in need of repairs or updates.
Pollutants in indoor air can irritate children’s eyes, nose, and throat, and cause cough, respiratory problems, dizziness, and headaches. Poor air quality can make asthma and allergy symptoms worse. When classroom air quality is poor, children may have trouble focusing and learning. Taking steps to improve air quality can improve students’ school performance and overall health.