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Two New England Schools Recognized Nationally by EPA for Indoor Air Quality Efforts - Districts in Woodbridge, Conn. and Westborough Mass. Awarded

Release Date: 12/07/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Dec. 7, 2006) - A school district in Woodbridge Conn. and in Westborough, Mass. are among only seven school districts selected nationwide to receive awards from EPA for exemplary Indoor Air Quality management programs in its schools.

The school districts, Amity Regional School District No. 5, in Woodbridge, Conn., and Westborough Public Schools, in Westborough, Mass., will receive awards tonight at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The awards are part of a national Indoor Air Quality “Tools for Schools” Symposium.

“EPA commends these award-winning schools for their remarkable progress toward safe and healthier learning environments,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Schools that have indoor air quality management programs are seeing improvements in student health.”

The Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools Excellence Award was presented to the Connecticut school district for their exemplary IAQ management program in its schools. In 2001 and 2002, mold problems closed the Amity High School auditorium, parents threatened to pull their children out of school, and other reported health concerns in the district caused more public concern. The Board of Education adopted a goal to establish and maintain the healthiest indoor air quality possible. Each school in the district now has an IAQ committee as well as standard operating procedures for responding to IAQ complaints. “We have really taken a serious approach to IAQ, and we have an excellent communication system in place to respond quickly to any concerns,” said Dr. John Brady, superintendent of schools. “We are proud to receive this award because we have really stepped up to the plate to solve problems.”

EPA also presented the 2006 IAQ Tools for Schools Model of Sustained Excellence Award to Westborough Public Schools for enduring exemplary efforts to improve indoor air quality in our nation’s schools. Since winning EPA’s IAQ Tools for Schools Excellence Award in 2003, the Westborough School District has persisted in refining its IAQ program in response to requests and suggestions from staff throughout the district. “This award recognizes work that teachers, parents and administrators have done for the last several years,” said Les Olson, assistant superintendent for schools. “We are doing all we can to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.”

EPA studies indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times – sometimes more than 100 times – higher than outdoor levels. Indoor air pollutants such as radon, asbestos, chemicals and allergens pose serious health risks in schools for both students and staff, causing asthma, decreased performance and diminished concentration. EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program helps identify and resolve indoor environmental problems in schools.

Since the creation of Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program, nearly 30,000 schools across the country have adopted IAQ management programs consistent with EPA guidance. This program explains IAQ management, facility planning and maintenance, financing, communications, and emergency response and teaches schools how to identify, resolve, and prevent IAQ problems through low and no-cost measures.

More information: EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program (epa.gov/iaq/schools)