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Why Do Schools Have Poor Indoor Air Quality?

Poor indoor air quality in schools affects people with asthma and allergies. This can impact children’s overall health and academic performance. 

Unfortunately, many schools across the U.S. have air quality issues in their buildings.

Importance of Indoor Air Quality:

Indoor air quality plays a significant role in a child’s health and academic performance, particularly for those with asthma and allergies. Studies show that poor air quality can impede human performance. It is especially challenging for young learners. Cognitive ability, visual and auditory recall, and reading comprehension are all impacted.

Asthma and Allergy Management:

Healthy indoor air is essential for effective asthma and allergy management. Parents and caregivers can work towards creating a healthier home environment, but children may still be exposed to asthma triggers at school, leading to uncontrolled asthma, poor school performance, and missed school days.

old classroom

Challenges in Schools’ Indoor Air Quality:

Here are the key findings from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) highlighting the main causes of poor indoor air quality for schools:

Aging Buildings: Approximately 53% of public school buildings require repairs and updates to be in good condition. Low-income schools and those serving minority populations often lack the necessary resources for maintenance and repairs.

Funding Shortages: Schools face a significant funding shortfall, with approximately $46 billion less per year than needed for building maintenance.

Allergens and Triggers: Common asthma and allergy triggers like dust mites, animal dander, pests, mold, and irritants such as harsh cleaning chemicals are present in schools. Respiratory infections, which can exacerbate asthma, tend to spread more during the school year.

Tobacco and Vaping: Tobacco use, including vaping, is a concern in schools, with a significant number of students using e-cigarettes in recent years.

Poor Ventilation: Proper ventilation is essential to reduce air pollution and the spread of viruses like COVID-19. Many schools need upgrades to their HVAC, ventilation, and filtering systems.

Transportation Pollution: Air pollution from vehicles, including cars and buses, can worsen asthma symptoms. Students are exposed to these pollutants while riding buses and waiting for pickup, and children attending schools near major roadways are exposed throughout the day.

These factors contribute to the problem of poor indoor air quality in schools. It is critical to address these issues to safeguard the health and academic performance of students.

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Want to help your kids and teachers breathe better?

Are you aware of any classrooms that may have a teacher or kids that struggle with allergy or asthma symptoms? Any centers where the air “could smell cleaner”?

MEDformance is a leading supplier of indoor air quality monitoring and hospital-grade air purification solutions for Head Starts. Our Test Drive Clean Air program has been incredibly successful.