Children are vulnerable to poor indoor air conditions because their respiratory system is still in development. Ongoing exposure to contaminants increase the chance to develop respiratory issues that may result in chronic allergies or asthma.
in K-12 Schools
Asthma is a leading cause of school absenteeism due to a chronic condition.
The EPA reports that one out of every ten school-age children has asthma and that the rate is on the rise.
Respiratory ailments and asthma are a leading cause of school absenteeism. The CDC reports 13.8 million school days missed per year, due to asthma alone. Studies have shown that the challenges of asthma impacts student performance and has a negative long term affect on learning.
ALL OCCUPANTS ARE AT RISK
Not only are students at risk, teachers and other school professionals are also susceptible to having allergic reactions or development of asthma. Studies have shown that teachers lead all non-industrial occupations with the highest rate of work related asthma. The American Journal of Medicine stated asthma within the educational services industry is an occupational health problem. For overall school health, it is important to understand the contributors to Asthma and other respiratory ilness, and actions that can be taken with the HVAC system to improve the indoor environment.
INDOOR POLLUTANTS CONTRIBUTE TO ASTHMA
Asthma can be triggered by indoor or outdoor pollutants. In schools, indoor pollutants are the leading triggers. Mold, dust, pests, and cleaning chemicals are the most common contributors. The National Institute of Health promotes reducing and eliminating allergens and irritants in the indoor and outdoor environment and to conduct ongoing monitoring and evaluation of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Maintaining proper outdoor air ventilation is essential for reducing indoor pollution concentration.
CONTROLLING AIRFLOW = HEALTHIER INDOORS
Not only is controlling ventilation a key strategy to fight pollutants that cause asthma, but maintaining proper building pressurization is very important. Building pressure is controlled by accurately controlling all flows in and out of the building. Maintaining a positive building pressure will prevent unfiltered air and moisture from entering through the building envelope. It is important for energy and health that the air from outdoors comes in through the HVAC system where it can be properly heated, cooled, and filtered. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is urging the Department of Education to require IAQ improvements in Schools by improving ventilation. Measuring and controlling airflow rates, filtration, and source control are necessary components to ensure student health and that of school professionals. Learn more about Ebtron Solutions for Schools.
The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERII) and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 allows for LEAs to use available funds for improvements, repairs, and upgrades to mechanical ventilation and control systems. Ventilation improvements will help the fight against asthma.
Additional Resources Related to Asthma in Schools
Environmental Protection Agency
Develop an Asthma Management Plan in Your School or District. By managing IAQ, you are already taking an important first step to managing asthma in your school or district.
Managing Asthma in the School Environment
National Institute of Health
Provide a healthy school environment and reduce asthma triggers: Set standards for maintenance, humidity, mold and dust control, and ventilation.
Managing Asthma: A Guide for Schools
Caring for Our Children
Indoor air pollution is often greater than outdoor levels of air pollution due to a general lack of adequate air filtration and ventilation.