EPA Recognizes 8 Schools for Excellence in Indoor Air Quality
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized eight school districts for their indoor air quality programs.
The National Excellence Award winners are
- Keller Independent School District, Keller, Texas;
- Kenosha Unified School District No. 1, Kenosha, Wis.;
- North Penn School District, Lansdale, Pa.;
- Wayzata Public Schools, Plymouth, Minn.; and
- Westport Public Schools, Westport, Conn.
The National Model of Sustained Excellence Award Winners are
- Ocean Township School District, Oakhurst, N.J.;
- Omaha Public Schools, Omaha, Neb.;
- Spokane Public Schools, Spokane, Wash.
The National Connector Award Winners are
- Jack Levine, Amity Regional School District No. 5, Woodbridge, Conn.;
- Michael Sheehan, Baldwin Union Free School District, Baldwin, N.Y.
EPA ranks indoor air pollution among the top five environmental health risks. In addition to health effects such as headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, students and staff exposed to poor indoor air quality experience decreased performance and diminished concentration levels. Poor indoor air quality can make allergy and asthma symptoms worse, particularly for children. Asthma results in nearly 13 million lost school days per year.
Keller ISD's indoor air quality program features a strong asthma management component, including changes to the physical buildings, such as removing all carpeting from classrooms and using green cleaning products. The school district is implementing a comprehensive asthma trigger education program, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on all district campuses to help proactively manage health risks.
"The protection of subpopulations, especially with regard to children, is one of our top priorities," said Al Armendariz, EPA Region 6 administrator. "EPA is bringing new energy to safeguarding children and commends Keller ISD for their commitment to a healthy environment for their students and teachers." Nearly 20 percent of Americans, or about 60 million people, spend their days inside 132,000 public and private elementary and secondary school facilities. The average public school is 42 years old, and school buildings begin rapid deterioration after 40 years if not properly maintained. The IAQ Tools for Schools Program provides free resources and guidance to help schools identify and solve their AIQ problems using practical, cost-effective and step-by-step approaches.