Help Wanted: Soccer Moms, Science Teachers, and STEM Students needed to survey schools for indoor environmental issues.

There are no federal regulations requiring that schools be inspected on a regular basis for issues that might impact learning, such as mold, radon, lead in drinking water, or other indoor air quality issues which have been shown to lower student learning one or two letter grades. (1,2,3)

To make matters worse, only half a dozen states have any kind of requirement for periodic indoor environmental issues – the rest have none.

Most states require that when a home is sold, various kinds of inspections occur to make sure the home is safe for the new buyer. Since school buildings are almost never sold, they can harm children, or lower learning, over their entire life!

According to EPA, one-half of our nation’s 115,000 K-12 schools have indoor air quality (IAQ) problems. (4)

Look at this collection of logos. These are some of America’s premier not-for-profit environmental organizations. Do you see any that has a focus on indoor environments like schools?

(Spoiler Alert: You will not – there is none anywhere in America!)

The average school in America is 44 years old (so half of all schools are older than that!) (5)

They were built at a time before environmental regulation was robust – and are often not upgraded, particularly in areas with low property values and poor school districts.

These schools become a barrier to social mobility – through no fault of the hard-working teachers.

We created The Pollution Detectives to lend parents, students and teachers EPA approved devices that ‘make the invisible visible’. We want to help you make sure your child’s school has an optimal learning environment.

To learn more about our efforts, go to www.thepollutiondetectives.org. To see the kinds of instruments we lend, go to https://thepollutiondetectives.org/neat-tools/ To sign up to discuss borrowing these tools, click here.

Come on, Soccer Moms, Science Teachers, and STEM students – you can do this!

Authored by Francis Koster Ed. D.

You can click on these footnotes to go to the source.

(1) https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/healthy-classrooms-infographic
(2)https://forhealth.org/Harvard.Schools_For_Health.Foundations_for_Student_Success.pdf
(3) http://escholarship.org/uc/item/5sw56439#page-9
(4) https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/schools-air-water-quality/schools-indoor-air-quality_.html
(5) https://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/data-us-school-buildings-age-condition-and.html

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