Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality

The U.S EPA has developed an innovative program - Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools - to help schools identify and address indoor air quality problems. This nationwide initiative is based on these premises:

  • Many IAQ problems can be prevented by the school community
  • IAQ problems can be resolved using the skills of the school staff
  • The expenditures and effort to prevent most IAQ problems are a fraction of that required to solve problems once they develop

EPA's Tools for Schools is based on an action kit providing all the materials necessary to promote a low-cost, problem-solving team approach to improving IAQ. Once a committee of administrators, teachers, maintenance staff, parents and others investigates and prioritizes indoor air hazards, short- and long-term strategies are developed to solve IAQ problems. The Department of Public Health, along with the Connecticut School Indoor Environmental Resource Team (CSIERT) - of which CEA is a member- provides training to Connecticut school districts to implement and sustain the Tools for Schools program.

Connecticut Tools for Schools Success Stories

Implementing and sustaining the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) IAQ Tools for Schools (TfS) program has helped to address IAQ problems in over 850 schools in Connecticut.

Connecticut Green Schools

CT Green Schools is a resource for educators, administrators, building officials, and students in K-12 schools, colleges, and universities around Connecticut.

Fact Sheet: Indoor Air Quality Testing Should Not Be The First Move

It's a fact that we may not want to hear, but clutter does not inspire, it creates chaos...And of course nice nesting habitat for mice which often follow. No true clutter connoisseur lives or works alone!

How Students Can Play a Role in the Tools for Schools Program to Create a Healthy School Environment

A healthy school indoor environment should be everyone's responsibility, including students.

IAQ Backgrounder

Most people are aware that outdoor air pollution can damage their health, but many don't know that indoor air pollution can also have significant harmful effects. EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants show that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2-5 times, and occasionally more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels.

Implementation Summary

This page summarizes each of the steps that are involved in successful implementation of the EPA's Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program.

Monitoring Adherence to CT School Indoor Environmental Quality Laws

CT General Statutes contain laws dealing with the following school indoor environmental quality (IEQ) issues. For your school district to be in compliance with CT Law, all of the statements should be true for your school as of April 2012.

Pilot Program Proposal for CEA UniServ Units 9 & 18

CEA/NEA Pilot Program Proposal for CEA UniServ Units 9 & 18 IAQ AREA (Awareness/Response/Education/Action) Team

Sustaining Tools for Schools

This document provides ideas and suggestions to assist schools and school districts to sustain their Tools for Schools (TfS) programs for the "long haul."

Tips for Teachers to Keep Your Classroom Clean & Healthy

Improving the school indoor environment, including reducing asthma triggers like dust and chemicals, benefits both students and staff. Teachers can help by following these useful tips.

Tools for Schools Action Kit

IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit shows schools how to carry out a practical plan to improve indoor air problems at little- or no-cost using straightforward activities and in-house staff. The Kit provides best practices, industry guidelines, sample policies, and a sample IAQ management plan.

Tools for Schools Map

Connecticut school districts that have implemented the EPA's Tool for Schools Program Indoor Air Quality Program.

Tools for Schools Overview

The Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools (TfS) Program was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce exposures to indoor environmental contaminants in schools through the voluntary adoption of sound indoor air quality management practices.

  • EPA Tools for Schools Program

    EPA developed the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools (TfS) Program to reduce exposures to indoor environmental contaminants in schools through the voluntary adoption of sound indoor air quality management practices.

  • EPA IAQ Design Tools for Schools

    The information available here is presented as a tool to help school districts and facility planners design the next generation of learning environments so that the facility will help schools achieve their core mission of educating children.

  • Connecticut School Indoor Environment Resource Team (CSIERT)

    This site is a "one-stop" source for information and referrals relating to the Tools for Schools program for TfS team members, parents, teachers, administrators, facilities personnel, students and others. It is also a source for other school-related environmental health issues such as radon, asbestos and lead.

  • Connecticut State Department of Public Health

    The Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Unit provides consultation, technical assistance, education, and training to local health departments, housing code enforcement officials, other state agencies, health care providers, and the public regarding environmental conditions in homes, schools and workplaces that can lead to poor IEQ and impact health.

  • Environment and Human Health Inc.

    EHHI is dedicated to protecting human health from environmental harms through research, education and promotion of sound public policy.

  • NEA Health Information Network

    The National Education Association Health Information Network's mission is to improve the health and safety of school personnel and students by providing the school community with vital and timely information that will increase teacher and education support professional (esp) quality and student achievement.

Make sure your school district has adopted the Tools for Schools program and is maintaining TfS building teams in all schools.

Make sure there is a teacher and parent on your school's TfS building team.

Get rid of air fresheners, potpourri, candles, plug-ins, etc. These items don't improve air quality and may cause health problems, especially for students with asthma.

Make sure the ventilation system (if you have one) is working in your classroom. Be careful not to obstruct air vents (such as putting books, etc., on the unit ventilator).

Get rid of cleaning chemicals (i.e. bleach, ammonia, cleansers) that you or your students may have brought in. CT's Green Cleaning Law prohibits staff, students, and parents from bringing in any "product which is intended to clean, deodorize, sanitize or disinfect" (Public Act No. 09-81). Talk to your custodian about getting approved green cleaners to use in your classroom.

Upholstered furniture, pillows, blankets, or stuffed toys may collect dust (and dust mites). Get rid of old used upholstered furniture. Regularly clean clean stuffed toys, pillows, etc.

Work with your school to use low-odor classroom products such a white board cleaners, pens, paints, etc.

Personal air cleaning devices alone cannot adequately remove all indoor pollutants from school buildings. Some indoor "purifiers" emit ozone, a lung irritant that can affect asthmatics. The best way to address IAQ problems in your classroom is to reduce sources of contamination. Work with your TfS team and facilities staff to correct the problem.

Make sure plants are not a problem source by changing the soil regularly to prevent mold growth.

Report problems promptly and work with your facility's staff to correct small problems before they become large ones.

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