Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Challenge We Face

Exerpt from The Green Schools Handbook:

Most environmental health experts agree that
schools across the United States have serious
environmental problems they are ill-equipped or
financially unable to deal with. Here’s what the
California Department of Health Services
says about environmental quality in California’s

“Children have little or no control over their
environment while at school. In California, no 
agency or group has central authority as a 
watchdog for children in their school 
environment. There are no right-to-know
provisions in the law for parents or students
pertaining to hazardous conditions which may
exist in schools. While there are laws that 
regulate health and safety of schools as 
workplaces for teachers and staff, these do not 
directly apply to the students in the same 
buildings. Nonetheless, worker standards are
not appropriate to children, as they are
generally more susceptible to environmental
hazards than adults.”
“Poor school indoor environmental quality (IEQ)
can cause both short-term (reversible) and
long-term (chronic) effects in students and staff.
Overcrowded, poorly ventilated classrooms
contribute substantially to the spread of
infections diseases, such as colds and
influenza. Poorly maintained carpets, dirty air
ducts, and water damaged materials are prime
breeding grounds for a plethora of substances
that can trigger asthma attacks, sensitize
allergy-prone children, and cause sinus and
respiratory infections.”

“Responses of local school officials to IEQ
problems tend to be unstructured and ad hoc.
They are generally struggling within budgetary 
shortfalls to maintain educational programs, 
and IEQ complaints are often not considered to 
be serious or important. School administrators

may not have on-site expertise to address IEQ
problems and maintenance staffs are often ill
equipped to manage these additional duties.
There are relatively few school districts that 
have the resources to provide appropriate 
training for their staff in technical skills 
necessary for them to properly identify, 
evaluate, monitor or remediate IEQ concerns.”

The Green Schools Handbook
How to Protect Children in the Classroom and
Create Toxic-Free Environments

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