WASHINGTON - School districts across the nation were honored at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) 8th Annual Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools (IAQ TfS) National Symposium in Washington for implementing successful IAQ programs. With more than 53 million children spending a significant portion of their day in the classroom, poor IAQ can pose health risks in schools for both students and staff, leading to possible asthma attacks, decreased performance, or diminished concentration.
“Good indoor air quality in our schools is vital to the health and education of our nation’s children,” said Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “A clean and healthy learning environment is as fundamental as reading, writing, and arithmetic.”
The symposium focused on the latest research and information on environmental health topics such as: radon, mold, asthma management, maintaining ventilation systems for good IAQ, green cleaning products, and best practices of high-performing schools.
The symposium also highlighted model school districts that have successfully implemented effective IAQ management programs. The EPA’s IAQ TfS Awards Program recognizes schools and school districts that have demonstrated a strong commitment to improving children’s health by promoting good IAQ. A recently released study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about half of the nation’s schools have IAQ management programs in place, and that 86 percent of schools with IAQ management programs relied on EPA’s IAQ TfS program to guide their actions.
EPA introduced the IAQ TfS program in 1995 as a comprehensive resource to help schools maintain a healthy environment in school buildings by identifying, correcting, and preventing IAQ problems. The program has provided hundreds of schools with a variety of easy-to-use products, materials, and tools at no cost to help them implement an IAQ management program.
The following are the TfS award winners: Ridgefield Public Schools, Ridgefield, Conn.; Baltimore Public Schools; Mayfield City School District, Mayfield Heights, Ohio; Wichita Public Schools-USD 259, Wichita, Kan.; The School District of Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Katy Independent School District, Katy, Texas; Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte, N.C.; The School Board of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Philip Apruzzese, Connecticut Education Association, Hartford, Conn.; Pediatric/Adult Asthma Coalition of New Jersey, Union, N.J.; and Healthy Schools Network Inc., Albany, N.Y.
More information about the EPA symposium is available at www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/symposium.html.