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)

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Exploris Middle School Students Test Their School Drinking Water For Lead

Exploris Middle School students in Raleigh N.C. surveyed fourteen water fountains for lead in the water using EPA approved meters we loan for free.  (You can borrow them by clicking here.)

The students carefully documented every step in their process with photographs of where samples were taken, when, and the resulting meter results.  You can see their impressive report here.

According to Education Week magazine, there are over 100,000 K-12 school buildings in the United States.  About half are over 44 years old and roughly one-third of them have serious plumbing issues, including those that add lead to drinking and cooking water.[1]  The last time serious updates to federal regulations governing new plumbing installations were made was roughly 30 years ago – long before the lessons of Flint Michigan were learned![2]

If half our schools are over 44 years old and our current lead levels were set 31 years ago, there is potential for unsafe levels of lead to be present in a majority of our schools. You can find out about a number of issues involved in lead in school drinking water by visiting our website (Look at the bottom right box.)

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The average American eats the equivalent of a credit card-sized amount of plastic a week!

The average American eats the equivalent of a credit card-sized amount of plastic a week! [1]

According to a 2018 report released by The National Ocean Service (a part of the U.S, Department of Commerce) “about 300 million tons of plastic is produced globally each year”. Only about 10 percent of that is recycled. Of the plastic that is simply trashed, an estimated eight million tons ends up in the sea each year. [2][3] And it winds up in the flesh of the fish you eat.

Researchers at the National University of Ireland in Galway have been studying ocean fish in the North Atlantic to find out how much plastic is in their flesh. They discovered that “73 percent of 233 deep-sea fish” contain microplastic, or small plastic pieces less than 5 millimeters long. [4]

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