Learning the Basics About Indoor Air Quality in Schools

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   Learning the Basics About Indoor Air Quality in Schools

A strong indoor environment management plan should be built upon a full understanding of the basics concerning indoor air quality and other environmental factors in schools.

The topic page "Why IAQ Is Important" gives good reasons why indoor air quality is worth addressing in your school board. The case study "Top Ten Concerns for a Healthful School Environment" will also give you a good idea what kinds of factors are attracting the attention of school board officials in other jurisdictions.

Sometimes it is hard to imagine what all the fuss is about in school environments. Pollution is sometimes thought of as an outdoor problem, coming from factory chimneys, photochemical smog or industrial spills. The topic page "Sources of Indoor Pollution in Schools" will offer you new perspective on the common everyday items (carpets, paints, perfumes, etc.) that are responsible for indoor pollution.

With this background, a quick look at the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) site entitled "Indoor Environmental Quality Fact Sheet" will answer several more basic questions about indoor air quality, including the most commonly reported symptoms of adverse health effects. Visiting this "Reference Record" will also give you an idea how HealthySchools.com works. Once you arrive, click on the entry after "URL:" (shown as www.cdc.gov/niosh/ieqfs.html), which will take you directly to the NIOSH site. Use your back button to return to HealthySchools.com after you have read and explored the NIOSH site.

There are of course many different points of view concerning indoor air quality problems in schools. Those people who are experiencing health problems may be focussed on the illness that they feel is related to a school environmental exposure (e.g. read a parent's viewpoint in "Child Made Ill by Painting Fumes". Those who are in charge of troubleshooting environmental problems in school buildings may be focussed on how to fix a problem building (e.g. read "Remedial Measures for Sick Buildings"). Those who are in charge of health and safety concerns in a school board may be focussed on establishing long-term preventive maintenance measures and ways of "designing in" better indoor air quality on a day-to-day basis (e.g. see some of the activities underway at the Waterloo District School Board and the Durham District School Board).

Teachers may wish to take an overview and introduce their students to the issue (see the U.S. National Safety Council's "Teacher's Guide to Indoor Air Pollutants". This latter reference can be visited on the web by clicking on the "URL:" address shown, and then downloading and viewing or printing the "*.pdf" file by following the instructions you find there. This curriculum material is also a good introduction in itself, for those who are new to the subject.

For further Easy-Guide Manuals to take you step by step towards an Indoor Environment Management Plan for your school or school board, return to the Easy-Guide page.

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