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


Article by Francis Koster Ed.D.

4 replies added

  1. Norrie Robbins September 23, 2017 Reply

    I didn’t realize this about CO2. I always thought I was falling asleep in class because of the reduction in oxygen. Duh–if the oxygen concentration is reduced, then CO2 is increased. I am betting that the N2 and Ar stay the same, and the H2O stays the same. Very interesting!

  2. Jennifer Kendrick February 10, 2018 Reply

    Dr. Koster spoke at our Charlotte Dilworth South End Rotary Club on Friday, February 9, 2018. His presentation was eye-opening and very thorough. The things we don’t know about air pollution (specifically lead, carbon dioxide, and radon) in our children’s schools, and the effect it has on their ability to learn (including long-term consequences), is disturbing. He is one of the best speakers we have had! Thank you.

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