- Best Practices and indoor air problems
- School building materials and practices
- Health problems
- Green cleaning
- Pest management and control
- Preventive management options
- More resources & Anti-idling signs
Best Practices and indoor air problems
The best practices section provides school administrators, nurses, maintenance and custodial staff with the tools to use when planning for renovations, preventative maintenance, pest management and control, monitoring drinking water, and other building activities. The practices may reduce the potential scope of possible problems identified by the Legislature under Act 125:
- There is significant evidence that hazardous chemical exposure and poor indoor air quality can negatively affect human health and productivity.
- Problems related to hazardous chemical exposure, ranging from complaints of minor illness to death, are documented in medical, institutional and governmental studies.
- Children are particularly susceptible to adverse health effects from hazardous chemical exposure and poor indoor air quality, as their bodies are undergoing rapid growth and development, their immune systems are not fully functional and they are likely to be in contact with materials not encountered by adults.
- A school environment in which hazardous exposures are reduced and an adequate supply of fresh or filtered air is provided reduces viruses and allergens, increases the likelihood that school students and staff will be more alert and productive and may reduce risk of litigation.
Problems involving potentially hazardous chemical exposure and poor indoor air quality are associated with increased use of manufactured construction materials, energy conservation measures that have sealed school buildings more tightly, inadequate air exchange that fails to eliminate pollutants from inside school buildings, and moisture problems that cause biological growth inside school buildings.
School building materials and practices
Information and resources about materials and practices in common use in school operations and construction that may compromise indoor air quality or negatively impact human health:
- Air Quality in Schools
- Air Quality and School Renovation
- Air Quality and Carpets
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) Resources
- Pesticides: GAO’s report on Use, Effects, and Alternatives to
Pesticides in Schools
- Recommendation for Floor Covering Systems - Main Indoor Air Quality Council
- Typical Sources of Indoor Air Pollutants - EPA Tools for Schools
Resources and information on potential health problems associated with common building materials and substances, with specific reference to children’s vulnerability:
- Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control - "A comprehensive guide to the assessment and control of bioaerosols in the full range of contemporary workplaces" (Janet Macher, Editor; 526 pages), American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.
- Handbook of Pediatric Environmental Health - "The only comprehensive guide to the identification, prevention, and treatment of pediatric environmental health problems" (420 pages), American Academy of Pediatrics.
Green cleaning programs rely on the use of environmentally-sensitive chemical
products and high performance cleaning equipment. Green cleaning products and equipment clean as effectively as traditional products, while minimizing adverse impacts on people’s health and the environment.
In 2012, the Vermont General Assembly passed Act 68, requiring commercial vendors to sell only third party certified environmentally preferable cleaning products to public schools. An effective green cleaning program requires specialized cleaning products, equipment and procedures.
- The Basics of Green Cleaning - This guide provides information and recommendations to promote effective green cleaning practices
- Environmentally Preferable Cleaning Products - A list of third-party certified products under State contract
- Green Cleaning Products Law [ Full Text ] [ Summary Fact Sheet ]
Pest management and control
Here are links to information on integrated pest management and alternatives to chemical pest control:
- EPA Office of Pesticide Programs
- Integrated Pest Management for Schools - University of Vermont
Preventive management options
Environmental Protection Agency preventive management options for commercial buildings:
- An Office Building Occupant’s Guide to Indoor Air Quality
- Indoor air quality resource guide
- Safe Water Resource Guide
- Lead in Schools
- Mold and moisture prevention
- School design and air quality
- Playground equipment and pressure treated wood
- School environmental health resources (pdf)
- Anti-idling Signs - Schools/districts/unions may purchase anti-idling signs through Vermont Correctional Industries.
Contact Jay Whitcomb at 1-866-729-8715.