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Indoor Air Quality

The quality of indoor air contributes to a favorable learning environment for children and better productivity for the teachers and other school personnel. Not that the past generations have poor performances, but due to schools getting older and starting to deteriorate, the building walls, mechanical ductworks, peeling paint and other commercial products used that contain asbestos, lead, etc., all contribute to the hazards inhaled by the occupants of the buildings.

"Sick Building Syndrome" is synonymous with Indoor Air Quality. This syndrome occurs when the building occupants experience symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, itchy skin or other physical complaints which cannot be explained clinically but appear to be caused by the building.

The following are some agents that cause air pollution. Dust generated from dirt, pollen, pet dander or asbestos cause discomfort to the building occupants. Mold and mildew that thrive in humid places or in standing water also pollute the air. Improperly maintained heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems are also breeding places for mold and mildew. Radon emanating from granite, shale and phosphate rocks enter the buildings through openings around floor drains and sump pumps, cracks in floor and walls, and foundations.

Managing indoor air quality by controlling the pollution sources and providing appropriate HVAC systems and careful selection of site and design of a building can be integrated together for a healthy environment.

bullet Additional Resources:

bullet References:

  • Sick Building Syndrome. Indoor Air Quality Fact Sheet #4: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Revised 1991. Toll free: 1-800-438-4318
  • Introduction to Indoor Air Quality: A Self-Paced Learning Module; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. E-mail address: iaqinfo@aol.com
  • Carpet and Indoor Air Quality in Schools. Maryland State Department of Education: 410-333-2508.
School Construction and Facility Services Division
Phone: 217/785-8779
Fax: 217/782-6096