Tuesday, April 24, 2012
National Healthy Schools Day is a day dedicated to promoting healthy and green school environments for children.
According the U.S. Environmental protection Agency, more than half of schools in the United States have problems linked to unhealthy indoor air quality, and some classrooms in California have problems of inadequate ventilation, high formaldehyde concentrations, moisture and mold, and toxic residues in dust according to a study by the California Air Resources Board. Poor indoor environmental quality is associated with a wide range of problems that include poor concentration and learning difficulties, respiratory illnesses like asthma, headaches, fatigue, organ damage and other serious health effects – all of which can reduce students’ and teachers’ productivity. One in six children in California has been diagnosed with asthma, accounting for approximately 1.9 millions missed school days each year and reducing schools’ budget by an estimated $40 million per year. A study by Environmental Working Group showed that cleaning supplies commonly used in many California school districts could be clouding classroom air with more than 450 distinct toxic contaminants, including chemical agents linked to asthma and cancer. Green cleaning supplies, in contrast, emitted one sixth of the contaminants. Teachers and custodians have high rates of work-related asthma and report exposures to cleaning products as a cause of their asthma.
Many schools and districts – including Fairfield-Suisun, Fresno, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and others – have already made the switch to certified less-toxic cleaning products and are seeing the benefits: saving money, decreasing asthma triggers, improving attendance, reducing worker injuries, and overall making the school environment a healthier place to learn, work, and play.
We invite you to take part in California Healthy Schools Day and join the many schools across the state that are already taking action to curb children’s exposure to dangerous chemicals. There are many resources available to help you get started. So, plan your actions for making your school a green and healthy school – every day!