Skip Navigation

Tox Town - Environmental health concerns and toxic chemicals where you live, work, and play
Schoolen español

Why are schools a concern?

Approximately 74 million children and 3.5 million teachers spend their days in schools for nine to ten months each year. Schools include both indoor and outdoor spaces that can pose health risks to students, teachers, and school staff. 

Poor indoor air quality in schools can cause health effects, including asthma and respiratory problems. Mold and moisture can cause asthma and allergic reactions. Chemicals from school building or maintenance materials can cause allergic reactions or long-term health effects. Dust mites and pest residues in schools can cause asthma and respiratory problems. 

Pesticides used in schools can be especially harmful to children, who may be sensitive to the health risks of pesticides because their internal organs are still developing. Children are also especially sensitive to lead, which may be in school drinking water. Mercury may be used in many items commonly found in schools, such as thermometers, switches, thermostats, lamps, and laboratory equipment. 

Schools in certain areas of the county may have high levels of radon, which can cause lung cancer if people are exposed to it over a long period of time. Older schools may contain insulation or pipes made with asbestos, which can cause lung cancer if people are exposed to high levels of it over a long period of time. 

Portable classrooms, also called temporaries or trailers, can have poorly functioning or loud ventilation systems, water seepage and mold growth, and use processed wood that has been treated with chemicals. 

Students and school staff can be exposed to diesel fumes and other outdoor air pollutants if they are outdoors where school buses are parked and idling.

This description is based on the information found in the Web links listed with this topic.


Web Links from MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
Asthma in Children
Child Safety
Drinking Water
Fire Safety
Household Products
Indoor Air Pollution
Molds
Poisoning
School Health
Secondhand Smoke

More Links
Green Squad (Natural Resources Defense Council)
Healthy School Environments (Environmental Protection Agency)
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Creating Healthy Indoor Environments in Schools (Environmental Protection Agency)
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Design Tools for Schools (Environmental Protection Agency)
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Schools (Environmental Protection Agency)
Managing Asthma in Schools (Environmental Protection Agency)
Reducing Pesticide Exposure at Schools (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

Chemicals at School
Are these chemicals in MY community?
Acetone
Ammonia
Arsenic
Asbestos
Benzene
Bisphenol A (BPA)
Carbon Dioxide
Carbon Monoxide
Chlorine
Endocrine Disruptors
Ethylene Glycol
Ethylene Oxide
Formaldehyde
Lead
Mercury
Methanol
Natural Gas
Nitrogen Oxides
Particulate Matter
Perchloroethylene (PCE, PERC)
Pesticides
Phthalates
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Propane
Radon
Solvents
Styrene
Sulfur Dioxide
Toluene
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)


Last Updated: June 11, 2014

Interactive Graphic Neighborhoods City Farm Town US Border Regions Port US Southwest