Is Your Child's School Toxic?
Make sure your child learns in healthy surroundings. Here are trouble signs to look for, plus steps to take to start improving your school.
WHAT PARENTS AND OTHERS SHOULD LOOK FOR:
- Suspect that your school has indoor environmental problems when:
- The roof leaks
- The building is new or newly renovated and still smells like paint, varnish, or glue.
- The building is fully carpeted
- Your child goes to school healthy but comes home ill, cranky, or exhausted.
- Your child comes home with odd odors clinging to his/her clothing.
- Your child has health or learning problems ONLY in that building.
- Building maintenance and repairs costs are often cut at budget time.
- The building smells damp or musty, or has been flooded.
WHAT PARENTS AND OTHERS SHOULD ASK THEIR SCHOOLS:
- Is there a preventive maintenance plan?
- Do you prevent pests without the routine use of toxic chemicals?
- Do you promote good indoor air quality by preventing mold and dust, and by using nontoxic products?
- Are the plumbing and wiring adequate?
- Do you tell parents and employees in advance of hazards, such as pesticide use or renovations?
- Do you inspect and control lead, asbestos, and radon?
- Do you respond quickly to complaints?
- Are there wholesome foods for snacks and meals?
- Are the heating, lighting, ventilation, windows, doors, and buses energy efficient?
- Do you protect occupants during renovation and construction?
IF THE ANSWER TO ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS IS "YES":
Ask your school's principal to consider implementing the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. An easy-to-use kit, including checklists, background information and a unique IAQ Problem Solving Kit is available here: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/tools4s2.html.
Source: Healthy Schools Networks