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Children's Health Protection

Children’s Health Month 2006: Promoting Healthy School Environments

2006 Children's Environmental Health Report

The annual Children's Environmental Health Report highlights the agency's recent efforts to protect the health of children by addressing threats in the environments where they develop, grow, and thrive. Improving school environments, addressing indoor and outdoor air quality, and reducing exposures to chemicals and pesticides are a few of the activities described in the report, "Children's Environmental Health: 2006 Report; Environment, Health, and a Focus on Children" (PDF/3MB) or "Salud Ambiental Infantil – Informe 2006; Medio Ambiente, Salud y una Atención Enfocada en los Niños (PDF/3MB)."

Healthy School Environments

Children spend a significant portion of their time in schools—more than in any other environment other than their homes. Children’s Health Month is a perfect opportunity to learn more about improving the health of your school environments. View information from EPA on healthy school environments.

Healthy School Webcasts

To celebrate Children’s Health Month 2006, EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education (OCHPEE) held a series of webcasts on topics related to healthy school environments. During the webcasts, participants were connected through the telephone and an internet connection on the computer and were able to participate in the discussion and ask questions of the speakers. OCHPEE has developed a list of EPA publications on healthy school environments that are available for download or to order as well as a calendar with a children's environmental health tip for every day in October. On September 28, 2006, former President George Bush declared October 2, 2006, Child Health Day.

The webcast topics included:

Safe and Healthy School Environments, an Overview
Held October 5, 2006

Howard Frumkin, M.D., DrPH, Director, CDC National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; Angelo Bellomo, Director, LA Unified School District Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

A compelling speaker, and editor of the recently published book “Safe and Healthy School Environments,” Dr. Frumkin provided a broad overview of the many issues related to children’s environmental health in schools. He was followed by Angelo Bellomo, who described how he successfully manages environmental health issues for the largest public school district in California using a software tool designed by the district.

Listen to and/or view audio/presentation files of this Webcast or send an email to ICF International at OCHPWebcast@icfi.com for a transcript.

Healthy High Performance Schools
Held October 11, 2006

Deane Evans, Executive Director, Center for Architecture and Building Science Research, New Jersey Institute of Technology.

"High performance school" refers to the physical facility, the school building, and its grounds. High performance schools often have features such as energy efficient design and operation, use of environmentally preferable building materials, healthy indoor air quality, and easy maintenance. Good teachers and motivated students can overcome inadequate facilities and perform at a high level almost anywhere, but a well-designed facility can truly enhance performance and make education a more enjoyable and rewarding experience. Creating one is not difficult, but it requires an integrated, "whole building" approach to the design process. Key systems and technologies must be considered together, from the beginning of the design process.

Mr. Evans has over 20 years of experience—in the private and public sectors—in architectural design, construction technology and building performance. He defined a healthy, high performing school, discussed the benefits, and explained the process by which schools can be designed or retrofitted to become healthy and high performing.

Listen to and/or view audio/presentation files of this Webcast or send an email to ICF International at OCHPWebcast@icfi.com for a transcript.

Read the Q & A from this webcast.

Chemical Management in Schools
October 19: 2-3pm EDT

Schools use and manage a range of hazardous and toxic chemicals and products. Classrooms, science laboratories, art studios, vocational shops, athletic fields, maintenance facilities, boiler rooms, and storage closets are just a few examples of where hazardous chemicals and products may be found. Often, existing stocks of outdated, unknown, excessive, or unnecessarily hazardous chemicals are present in schools. These chemicals can pose safety and health risks to students and staff, and a number of widely reported incidents involving such chemicals have resulted in school closures and costly clean-ups. A Schools Chemical Cleanout and Prevention program insures that excess, legacy, unused, and improperly stored chemicals are removed, and puts mechanisms in place through which chemicals are purchased wisely, stored safely, handled by trained personnel, used responsibly, and disposed of properly. In addition, pesticide use can cause possible health hazards for school occupants and contribute to environmental pollution. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a safer, usually less costly option for effective pest management in the school community. A school IPM program employs commonsense strategies to reduce sources of food, water, and shelter for pests in school buildings and grounds.

This webcast shared two chemical management success stories—a schools chemical cleanout campaign with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama, and the Monroe County, Indiana IPM Program.

Listen to and/or view audio/presentation files of this Webcast or send an email to ICF International at OCHPWebcast@icfi.com for a transcript.

Read the Q & A from this webcast.

Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool (Healthy SEAT)
October 26: 1:30-3pm EDT

EPA has developed a unique software tool to help school districts evaluate and manage their school facilities for key environmental, safety and health issues. The new Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool (HealthySEAT) is designed to be customized and used by district-level staff to conduct completely voluntary self-assessments of their school (and other) facilities and to track and manage information on environmental conditions school by school. This webcast helped acquaint states, school districts, and others with the capabilities and features of HealthySEAT.

Listen to and/or view audio/presentation files of this Webcast or send an email to ICF International at OCHPWebcast@icfi.com for a transcript.

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