Archives for posts with tag: schools

From CNN:

As a third-grader in Winsted, Connecticut, last year, Matthew Asselin was sick — a lot. He was lethargic and plagued with a persistent wet cough, respiratory infections and painful headaches.

As the school year wound down, Matthew’s health worsened. He was out for two weeks in the spring with pneumonia and then developed a sinus infection so severe he needed to spend the night at the hospital, where he received intravenous antibiotics and breathing treatments.

In all, Matthew missed 53 days of school.

But over the summer, a strange thing happened. Matthew was healthy. He was energetic. He could ride his bike for hours at a time.

“When we put him back in school this year, within three weeks, he missed 10 days with a respiratory infection,” Melissa Asselin said. That’s when Matthew’s mother had an a-ha moment.

“When he was out of school, he was well. When he was in school, he became ill,” Asselin said.

Matthew’s parents concluded that the 9-year-old’s school, Hinsdale Elementary, was making their son sick.

Indoor air problems

Figures are hard to come by, but studies have estimated that a third or more of U.S. schools have mold, dust and other indoor air problems serious enough to provoke respiratory issues like asthma in students and teachers.

A national survey of school nurses found that 40% knew children and staff adversely affected by indoor pollutants.

Indoor air affects more than health. A growing body of research suggests students also perform better in schools with healthier air.

“If you get an unhealthy building, you’re not going to have a successful school,” said Lily Eskelsen, vice president of the National Education Association, the largest teachers’ union in the United States.

“Asthma is the number one chronic illness that keeps kids out of school, and it’s growing,” Eskelsen added.

More.

Programming note: For more about environmental health issues in the classroom, watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s report “Toxic Schools” on “CNN Presents” Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET on CNN.

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From USA Today:

The federal government’s first attempt to assess the dangers from air pollution around schools is nearing completion, and the findings underscore the need for more extensive air monitoring, especially in pollution hot spots, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency says.

“There is work to be done still on air quality,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says. “The best result would be to find that all of our concerns were overblown, but we’re not finding this in every case.”

Most of the air monitoring completed so far has not found dangerous levels of pollution, the EPA says, but outside a handful of schools, the tests showed concentrations of toxic chemicals higher than what the government typically considers to be safe for long-term exposure. The EPA’s study came in response to a 2008 USA TODAY investigation that identified hundreds of schools where the air appeared to be rife with industrial pollution

More.

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