As we have mentioned in numerous blogs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named indoor air quality as one of its top five environmental dangers for one simple reason. Indoor air can be as much as 100 times more polluted than outdoor air. Yuck! And unfortunately, many facility managers do not take the proper precautions to fully alleviate (or at least minimize) such threats. This is especially true in schools, where students spend an average of 6.5 hours five days a week. This equates to 1,300 hours in a school building each year. Teachers and employees spend even more time in these facilities.
“An estimated 14 million American children attend public schools that are in urgent need of extensive repair or replacement and have unhealthy environmental conditions, including poor air quality […],” writes Cindy Long and Tim Walker in the neaToday article “CNN Spotlights Indoor Air Quality Impact on Student Learning.”
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Impacts Learning
According to the EPA, the average school building is about 42 years old. More than 75% of American’s schools were built before 1970. And because of severe budget shortfalls, many of these buildings experience a host of environmental problems, impacting students, teachers, staff, and, of course, learning.
“Poor indoor environmental quality contributes to serious health problems for students and staff, including asthma, allergic reactions, fatigue, headaches and respiratory tract infections,” says National Education Association (NEA) Health Information Network Director Jerry Newberry. “This causes high rates of absenteeism, and dramatically decreases the ability to concentrate and learn when students actually do make it class.”
Additional issues associated with poor air quality include coughing, eye irritation, headaches, asthma, allergic reactions, Legionnaire’s Disease, and so much more. And students are more susceptible to poor indoor air quality than adults for several reasons:
- Children eat, drink, and breathe more per pound of body weight than adults.
- Children do not have fully-developed immune systems and are not capable of handling high volumes of indoor air pollutants.
“Poor indoor air quality is one of the highest environmental risks to children’s welfare,” according to the EPA.
Combat Poor Indoor Air Quality with Preventive HVAC Maintenance
One of the best ways to combat poor air quality is with regular, preventive HVAC inspections (and maintenance). Fresh Air Concepts offers HVAC maintenance and installation services throughout central Maryland. We also offer several maintenance contracts geared towards extending the life of your HVAC system through meticulous inspections and annual maintenance.
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Call Fresh Air Concepts today to schedule your HVAC Maintenance and fight back against poor Indoor Air Quality. Please contact us by calling 1-800-708-4FAC! Make sure to also follow Fresh Air Concepts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as well.