Background

Research indicates that the environment in which children learn has an impact on their well-being and academic success. Studies consistently find that poor indoor air and environmental quality have a strong impact on student and staff health. More recently, research has focused on the impact of air and environmental quality on student performance. The emerging data suggests that there is a strong link between environmental stressors and student performance. This link is reinforced by research on adults that work in an office environment, which demonstrates that poor environmental quality can impact performance.

While poor indoor air and environmental quality can have an impact on all students and staff, people with asthma are especially vulnerable. Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood and a leading cause of school absences. While asthma is not curable, it can be controlled and managed, thus enabling children with asthma to be active, healthy, and ready to learn.

Asthma triggers in schools include poor indoor air quality, mold, pesticides, allergenic landscaping, cleaning agents or air fresheners, animal dander or pest droppings, and exposure to outdoor air contaminants. And while people with asthma are the veritable “canaries in the coalmine,” everyone is affected by bad indoor and outdoor air quality. By taking steps to reduce allergens and irritants, both inside buildings and in adjacent outdoor spaces, schools help to create healthy environments for everyone on campus.