Children are more susceptible to environmental threats than adults. With equal exposure, children's bodies become more heavily concentrated than that of adults due to higher respiratory rates and smaller body sizes. And where do young, developing people spend a large portion of their school-age years? That's right: at childcare and school. That is why Improving Kids' Environment works to make school and childcare facilities as healthy as possible.
How are we improving schools?
Indoor Air Quality in Schools
According to U.S. EPA, 20 percent of the U.S. population spend their days in elementary and secondary schools. Studies show that one-half of our nation's 115,000 schools have problems linked to indoor air quality. Students are at greater risk because of the hours spent in school facilities and because children are especially susceptible to pollutants. If students and teachers aren't healthy and comfortable, learning and productivity suffers, which in turn affects performance and achievement.
Pesticides in Schools
Pesticide exposures can cause problems to children’s health in schools. Both pests and pesticides have been associated with asthma symptoms in children. Schools may reduce children’s absences from school by reducing pests and pesticides. Join us to create a safe, clean and healthy learning environment for our students.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, involves pest prevention and proactive pest management. By keeping pests out and removing sources of food, water and shelter, fewer pests are encountered and pesticides are used only as a last resort. IPM results in fewer complaints, saves money, empowers school staff, and creates a cleaner, healthier school environment for children and staff.
Get Your School Involved
Smart Schools Don’t Idle
An increasingly common cause of children missing school is asthma, and air pollution is one of the common asthma triggers. Studies have linked high pollution levels at schools to increased absence and lower academic performance. Even with the high price of gasoline, many people do not understand that idling vehicles can create air pollution “hot spots” that can bring on an asthma attack and make even healthy children and adults feel poorly (headaches, itchy eyes, sore throats). On school grounds, idling vehicles include school buses, parents waiting to pick up or drop off children from school or other activities, and delivery vehicles. Often, the pickup/dropoff areas are located near fresh air intakes, so the vehicle exhaust is drawn right into classroom areas. Improving air quality in and around the school buildings will make students and teachers feel better and will help reduce one of the key triggers of asthma.
The School IPM Coalition
The School IPM Coalition was created to be an ongoing peer-to-peer support network for school professionals and others working to reduce pest problems and pesticide use in schools. The members of the School IPM Coalition also serve as ambassadors to increase the awareness of the benefits of IPM in schools and provide the confirmation that IPM is a successful program. The School IPM Coalition members include a diverse group of individuals including school facilities managers, IPM coordinators, pest management professionals; university faculty and extension staff; representatives from state departments of agriculture, health, environmental protection and education; and advocacy groups.