Undiscovered pollution in one-third of all K-12 schools is harming American children and their ability to learn.

A classroom that has indoor air above 600 ppm (parts per million) CO2 will slow student learning, hinder teacher effectiveness, and create low standardized student test scores. Current state and federal laws on indoor air quality are based on obsolete ASHRAE standards, currently set at 5,000 ppm CO2.(1)

  • One in five of the school systems tested by the EPA between 2012 and 2015 was found to have unsafe levels of lead in the drinking water.(2)

  • Studies have estimated that a third or more of U.S. schools have serious mold, dust and other indoor air problems.(3)

  • The EPA estimates one in five American schools has a radon level requiring attention. Radon is the second leading cause of  lung cancer in America, right behind smoking.(4)

  • Researchers have repeatedly found an increase in performance of between 5 and 17 percentile points when students study in non-polluted buildings.(5)

  • One out of every five Americans either attends or works at a K-12 school.(6)

  • There are currently no federal regulations to routinely inspect schools for pollution; only a dozen states have very modest requirements; the rest, including North Carolina, have none.(7)

You can see much more detail on the issue of indoor air quality by going to this page on our website:  Indoor air pollution – a much misunderstood subject

The Pollution Detectives lend students electronic equipment to test for pollution – click here: Borrow the latest pollution detection equipment

 [1] http://escholarship.org/uc/item/5sw56439#page-9

[2] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/03/17/drinking-water-lead-schools-day-cares/81220916/

[3] http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/14/health/school-indoor-air-pollution/index.html

[4] https://www.epa.gov/radon/radon-schools

[5] http://escholarship.org/uc/item/5sw56439#page-9

[6] https://www.edreform.com/2012/04/k-12-facts/

[7] http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/14/health/school-indoor-air-pollution/index.html




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Article by Francis Koster Ed.D.

4 replies added

  1. Dr. Koster visited the Charlotte Top-of-the- Week Rotary Club on Monday, April 30 at UNC Center City and delivered a fascinating presentation on an issue most of us in attendance knew nothing about and were shocked to learn. As a founder of “The Pollution Detectives” Dr. Koster introduced us to the problem of increased CO2 levels in classrooms that reduce learning capabilities among children from Kindergarten through 12th grade-whatever socio-economic background they come from. The focus of his program and efforts is to raise awareness of a serious issue that can be easily corrected and by doing so can significantly increase the educational performance of our children. Club members were fascinated to learn how increased levels of CO2 can affect our learning and that there are currently no governmental efforts in NC focused on an issue that seemingly can improve educational performance for little expenditure of time, effort or money.
    We were both educated and amazed at Dr. Koster’s learned presentation on an issue not currently being addressed on any broad scale.

  2. Jan Donaldson April 30, 2018 Reply

    Dr Koster also spoke at Top-of-The-Week rotary and it was truly eye-opening.
    He is great at presenting his data and conclusions in a way that is clear and easily digested.
    This cause is something we all need to be familiarizing ourselves with – and sooner rather than later

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