We all want children and teachers to be safe at school. But there are some dangers—such as air pollution—that are not always obvious. Air pollution in schools can affect how children learn and harm their growing lungs. It can also cause health problems for faculty and staff.  You can help protect your family and your community by learning more about keeping the air in schools clean and healthy.

Schools face some special challenges in providing healthy indoor air for children, staff and faculty. School buildings are crowded places. They typically have four times as many occupants per square foot as office buildings. The multiple uses of school space, including classrooms, cafeterias, gyms, art rooms and labs mean many potential sources of indoor air problems. School budgets are often tight, which can affect regular maintenance and cleaning practices, and may defer major repairs like leaking roofs for years.

Protecting Yourself From Air Pollution at School 

Are you concerned about the quality of the air in your school? If you or your child has health symptoms, such as sneezing, coughing or headaches that are worse during the school day and improve at home, you may have an indoor air pollution problem. Learn more about recognizing indoor air problems

For more information about how to work with schools to provide a healthy school environment, check out the American Lung Association’s Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program.

Page last updated: August 17, 2021

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