Envision best practices are intended to provide school administrators, nurses, maintenance, and building services staff with tools to use when planning for renovations, preventative maintenance, pest management and control, monitoring of drinking water, and other building activities. These best practices may reduce the scope of potential environmental health problems identified by the Legislature under Act 125.
Incorporating best practices into your plan is important in order to create a healthy school environment because:
- There is significant evidence that hazardous chemical exposure and poor indoor air quality can affect human health and decrease 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 more susceptible to negative health effects from hazardous chemical exposure and poor indoor air quality because their bodies are growing and developing quickly, their immune systems are not fully working, and they are likely to be in contact with different materials than adults.
- When hazardous exposures are reduced and an adequate supply of fresh or filtered air is provided, viruses and allergens decrease, the likelihood that school students and staff will be more alert and productive increases, and risk of litigation may be reduced.
- 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, air systems that don’t eliminate pollutants from inside school buildings, and moisture problems that cause mold growth inside school buildings.
Below are additional resources to support you in incorporating best practices into your Environmental Health Management Plan:
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 lessening harmful 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.
- Pesticides—Environmental Protection Agency
- Introduction to Integrated Pest Management—Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Integrated Pest Management Principles—EPA
- Effective Pest Management in Routine Cleaning and Maintenance for a Healthy School Environment—EPA
- Integrated Pest Management for Vermont Schools—University of Vermont
- Pesticides: Government Accountability Office’s Report on Use, Effects and Alternatives to Pesticides in Schools
- Indoor Air Quality in Offices and Other Large Buildings—Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Establishing Indoor Air Quality Programs for Building and Facility Management—EPA
- Actions Everyone in the School Can do to Improve Indoor Air Quality—EPA
- National Air Duct Cleaners Association
- Vermont State Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program
- Healthy Indoor Painting Practices
- Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association
- Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units—American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Lung Association, Vermont
- National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)
- National Environmental Health Association
- International Agency for Research on Cancer
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Vermont Idling Laws and Ordering “No Idling” signs
- Arsenic in Water, Consumer Products, and Pressure-Treated Wood