Houston, TX, August 23, 2017
Students scheduled to begin the new school year at a Houston area high school recently learned they will be attending classes elsewhere after mold was discovered in the school. According to media reports, the school district has informed teachers that most of what was in their classrooms has been discarded. Extensive remediation work is underway and the school district has stated that new instructional materials, furniture, sheetrock, ceiling tiles and flooring will need to be purchased.
As schools across the nation have either begun the new school year or will be opening their doors in the next few weeks, many students and faculty are likely to encounter indoor environmental quality issues. While perhaps not on the scale of the incident near Houston, many schools suffer from water leaks, plumbing issues and elevated humidity levels due to deferred preventive maintenance and repair work on aging structures. These situations can quickly result in mold growth and indoor air quality concerns.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Poor indoor air quality can impact the comfort and health of students and staff, which, in turn, can affect concentration, attendance and student performance. In addition, if schools fail to respond promptly to poor IAQ, students and staff are at an increased risk of short-term health problems, such as fatigue and nausea, as well as long-term problems like asthma.”
Some of the tell-tale signs that health complaints in a school may be indoor air quality related include:
- Health complaints associated with particular times of the day or week.
- Other occupants in the same area experiencing similar problems.
- Health complaints that end when the students or faculty leave the building and recur when they return.
- Students or faculty have recently begun working with new or different materials or equipment.
- New cleaning or pesticide products or practices have been introduced.
- New animals have been brought into the classroom.
“IAQ issues are not just a concern in older school buildings,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “New or recently renovated schools also frequently encounter air quality issues that may be due to mold or other airborne pollutants such as particulate matter or volatile organic compounds (VOCs).”
To help school districts, EMSL identifies air quality issues through comprehensive testing services and a wide range of air monitoring equipment. They provide all of the sampling supplies necessary to submit samples and offer easy-to-use test kits. They have even sponsored an educational video about IAQ issues in schools that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/8ktQGXR5xPA.
To learn more about this or other air quality and environmental testing services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com. To view the complete line of indoor environmental test kits, visit www.EMSLTestKits.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOCs, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of sampling equipment and investigative products for environmental professionals.