Public Health Stops at the School House Door

Table 1. Potential environmental health problems in schools.
Indoor Outdoor
Note: Adapted from the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, “Poisoned Schools: Invisible Threats, Visible Actions,“ https// Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry with U.S. EPA and Morehouse School of Medicine Regional Research Center for Minority Health (oral presentation at American Public Health Association, October 2001).
Toxic debris from construction or renovation in occupied building Use of lawn chemicals, including pesticides
Infiltration of air pollution from outside air or ground—nearby industry, construction on site or near by, nearby transportation corridors Artificial turf
Noise from inside or outside Allergens
Air pollution from indoor construction equipment, paints, glues, new carpets, etc. Schools located on toxic sites (Brownfields, National Priority List sites)
Air pollution from occupants—third-hand tobacco, wood smoke, dry cleaning chemicals, personal care products Toxic debris from construction or renovation
Water damage, dampness leading to growing molds and other substances Air pollution from nearby industry, construction on site or near by, nearby transportation corridors
Excess CO2 from inadequate ventilation Bus and vehicle idling at school
Inadequate lighting Vermin, pests
Allergens—from in-school vermin, air infiltration, transported in on clothing, school pets, or service animals
Chemical exposures—lab chemicals, cleaning supplies, pesticides, educational supplies; copiers, vocational, and other education supplies
Polychlorinated biphenyls in lighting ballast, caulk, floors, and ceiling tiles
Lead in paint or water
Inadequate heating or cooling