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Schools Join EPA to Improve Indoor Air Quality for Millions Of Children; Schools Win EPA Awards

Release Date: 12/02/2004
Contact Information:


Contact: John Millett 202-564-7842 / millett.john@epa.gov


(Washington, D.C.-December 2, 2004) Working with EPA to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for millions of American school children, more than 500 school representatives and health, technical and environmental experts will participate in EPA’s 5th Annual Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools National Symposium this week. At a national awards ceremony, EPA will recognize schools and individuals from across the country for efforts to protect indoor air quality for kids at school. EPA has invited hundreds of local school officials from across the country to discuss the basics of how to identify and resolve indoor environmental problems in schools.

“Children spend a significant amount of time in schools,” said EPA Assistant Administrator Jeff Holmstead. “We want to ensure that our nation’s schools are free of indoor environmental pollutants and irritants that may affect the health and productivity of students and staff. Schools that have implemented Indoor Air Quality improvements as recommended by our Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program continue to see positive results.”

Indoors, factors such as mold, mildew, dust, animal dander, radon, secondhand smoke, asbestos and formaldehyde can affect indoor air quality and trigger various allergies and asthma. Asthma alone accounts for 14 million missed school days each year. The rate of asthma in young children has risen by 160 percent in the last 15 years, and today one out of every 13 school-age children has asthma.

At the Symposium, EPA will announce 22 schools and school districts that have implemented exemplary Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) programs and honor them with the IAQ Tools for Schools Excellence Award. These award winners have implemented effective programs in their schools ranging from designing a new school building free of toxins and other hazards to developing district-wide policies for continuous training and maintenance. EPA will honor individuals and schools from 13 states. A complete list of awardees is available at: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools .

2004 IAQ Tools for Schools EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS

1. Burlington School District, Burlington, Vermont
2. North Haven Public Schools, North Haven, Connecticut
3. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte, North Carolina
4. Jefferson County Public Schools, Birmingham, Alabama
5. Elk River Area Schools, Elk River, Minnesota
6. Pinellas County School Board, Largo, Florida
7. Mankato Area Public Schools, Mankato, Minnesota
8. Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
9. Rapid City Area School District No. 51-4, Rapid City, South Dakota
10. Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Houston, Texas
11. Kent School District, Kent, Washington
12. Spokane Public Schools, Spokane, Washington

2004 IAQ Tools for Schools SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNERS

1. Angie Testa, American Lung Association of Connecticut, East Hartford, Connecticut
2. East Valley School District Air Quality Controllers, Spokane, Washington
3. Emily Lee, American Lung Association of Ohio, Independence, Ohio
4. Ephrata High School Environmental Health, Ephrata, Washington
5. Dale Dorschner, State of Minnesota Health Department, St. Paul, Minnesota
6. Teri Kranefield, American Lung Association of Maryland, Timonium, Maryland
7. Tom Hardin, Washington State Department of Health, Olympia, Washington

2004 IAQ Tools for Schools DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARDS

1. Dave Blake, Northwest Air Pollution Authority, Mount Vernon, Washington
2. Rich Prill, Washington State University, Cooperative Extension Energy Program, Spokane, Washington

2004 IAQ Tools for Schools Mentor of the Year Award

1. Beth Marolf, American Lung Association of Kansas, Topeka, Kansas

Since the creation of the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools (IAQ TfS) program, more than 25,000 schools across the country have voluntarily become involved. The IAQ TfS program teaches schools how to identify, resolve, and prevent IAQ problems through low- and no-cost measures. The program explains IAQ management, facility planning and maintenance, financing, communications, and emergency response. Also, an IAQ Tools for Schools Kit, given to all participating schools, includes easy-to-use checklists for all school personnel, sample management plans and a unique indoor air problem solving wheel.

For information on the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program or the 2004 National Symposium, visit: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools .