Improving Air Quality in Our Schools
After a successful demonstration of HEPA air filtration, the South Coast Air Quality Management District awarded IQAir a contract to install high-performance filtration in nearly fifty Long Beach, CA schools. This area of Long Beach is heavily industrialized, and these schools suffered from extremely poor air quality. The funding from this project came from a settlement by the City of Los Angeles to mitigate the environmental impact of the nearby port. Consider these facts:
1 in 5 people work or are in a school building 6-8 hours per day
Asthma is the leading cause of missed school in the US
Testing consistently demonstrates poor indoor air quality in schools across the country
Testing also proves that schools nationwide have inadequate ventilation
Many schools have formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air
Schoolchildren who suffer from asthma have their symptoms exacerbated by the following:
Dust—Scientific research has linked dust in schools to the onset of allergies and asthma and to increased allergy and asthma symptoms. Schools have the benefit of smooth flooring, but it still accumulates at an alarming rate, which is near impossible to keep up with.
Ventilation—In a recent scientific study, after two years of using a more sophisticated ventilation system, 12 schools experienced sharp declines in asthma rates and decreased asthma and allergy symptoms relative to 88 other schools in that area.
Finishes, furnishing and cleaning and teaching products—These materials release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are known to induce and exacerbate asthma and allergies. Some studies have found direct links between asthma and high levels of VOCs, like formaldehyde.
Moisture and mold—Mold spores exist long before we smell them and see them, but even in this hidden state, they still cause coughing, wheezing and the onset of allergies. A recent study found sharply greater asthma rates in schools that had experienced water damage.
- Pesticides—Many government regulations exist regarding pesticides, but none of them take into account the link between pesticides and child asthma. Although the research is still lacking, child advocates are pushing for the use of nontoxic or at least less toxic alternatives.
Although most parents may not be aware of the problems acutely, they do recognize them at least on an intuitive level. Anyone who has children in school recognizes that colds, flus and other illnesses are present at much higher rates than elsewhere. There is no doubt that we can attribute some of this to the not yet fully formed immune systems of the children, but that doesn’t account for all of it. The bigger reasons are air pollution, ventilation and filtration. If we could remove the pollution sources as well as bring ventilation and filtration up to proper levels, we could change this dramatically. Most parents, however, accept it as par for the course. They explore ways to increase their child’s immune system rather than put the focus on the source of the problem. Not that there is anything wrong with using hand sanitizer and taking vitamins, but these aren’t going to be the total solution. In fact, because of the inadequate ventilation and the high levels of airborne pollutants, children are going to get sick and they are going to pass the illnesses off to each other regardless of how careful they are.
Another problem is that modern classrooms tend to be compact and crowded. That lack of space coupled with the number of breathers exacerbates the ventilation and filtration problems. We’re continually adding more children to the mix without adding more space, ventilation and filtration. Using HEPA air purifiers in each of our school classrooms is not a panacea, but it is the most important step we can take. A high-quality portable air purifier with a HEPA filter can quietly clean the air in each classroom in an efficient manner. These air purifiers will eliminate particulates, such as dust, mold spores, bacteria, viruses, germs, soot and so forth. It really is amazing what a air purifier will extract from the air, and in doing so, it will benefit the health of students and teachers, and help minimize the spread of illness.
Another great benefit of HEPA air purifiers is that they can significantly lessen the symptoms of asthma and allergies. In the bullet points above, we mentioned that asthma is the leading cause of missed school in the US. With HEPA air purification, the air would not nearly be so irritable, and the student with asthma could be just as comfortable in school as he or she is at home. There are many HEPA air purifiers on the market. It is important to select air purifiers that utilize the most effective filtration technologies available, so that students and teachers are always breathing healthy, clean air. That’s the benefit of buying from Clean Air Plus. We only sell the finest products on the market.
Most of the air purifiers sold by Clean Air Plus have the added benefit of activated carbon filter technology. In fact, both activated carbon and HEPA filtration work together to form a comprehensive air purification strategy. The activated carbon is what allows the purifier to trap the gasses, vapors, chemicals and VOCs that the HEPA filter can’t trap on its own. This type of filtration will have an immediate effect. In fact, after adding such filtration, schools often find that their students are far less fatigued and more alert for active learning. If you’re a parent who is tired of the endless cycle of colds and flus or tired of the severe asthma symptoms, talk to your school about adding air purifiers. If you’re a teacher, principal or on the school board, then it is your responsibility to provide students with the healthiest environment possible. Don’t put this off any longer. Get a superior air purifier from Clean Air Plus today and give your students the pure, healthy air that they deserve.
- Administration Staff