Cinnaminson, NJ, April 2nd
Across the United States there are over 130,000 K-12 schools according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). More than 55 million students attend these public and private schools, and many of these schools have had to rely on the use of portable classrooms in recent years due to overcrowding.
With the increased use of portable classrooms, some teachers, students and parents have expressed concerns over the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of these structures as many have become permanent fixtures on school campuses. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that the most common problems with portable classrooms include:
- Poorly functioning HVAC systems that provide minimal ventilation with outside air.
- Poor acoustics from loud ventilation systems.
- Chemical off-gassing from pressed wood and other high-emission materials, which may be of greater concern because of rapid occupancy after construction.
- Water entry and mold growth.
- Site pollution from nearby parking lots or loading areas.
The EPA specifically mentions the fact that pressed-wood products, which may contain higher concentrations of formaldehyde, are used more in the factory-built portable units than in buildings constructed on-site. As a result, levels of airborne chemicals may be higher in new portable classrooms, especially if ventilation is reduced. The agency also goes on to state that like all school facilities, portable classrooms should contain appropriate building and indoor surface materials, and properly designed ventilation systems, to minimize the presence of indoor pollutants.
“There are a number of indoor environmental quality issues that can be a challenge in portable classrooms and have a direct impact on the learning environment,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “These include noise, moisture, ventilation and air quality pollutants that range from particulate matter, formaldehyde, mold, diesel exhaust and other concerns. At EMSL, we offer IEQ testing services, sampling supplies, test kits, air and noise monitoring instruments, and more. These services and products help to ensure students and teachers have a healthy and productive learning environment.”
EMSL also recently sponsored an educational video about portable classrooms and IEQ that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/wWNxnYPrlH0.
To learn more about indoor environmental quality testing services and monitoring instruments, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com. To access IEQ test kits, visit www.EMSLTestKits.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with 46 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, VOC’s, 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 including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.