United States	Office of Radiation
Environmental Protection and Indoor Air
Agency	(6604J)
July 1999
EPA 402-F-99-001
lfms for Schools
IAQ Tools for Schools
Action Kit
A Note From the Director
Welcome to the premier edition of EPA's Indoor Air Quality
(IAQ) Tools for Schools Bulletin. In response to nationwide concern
about indoor air quality in schools. EPA's Indoor Environment's Division
developed the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit. The Kit was designed in
collaboration with six sponsoring organizations. It is a no cost/low cost
approach designed to guide parents, teachers, school administrators, and
facilities personnel through the process of improving the air quality in our
nation's schools. An estimated one in five Americans spend their day in
schools. And with indoor pollutant levels often reaching 2-5 times higher
than outdoor levels, good indoor air quality is more important than ever-
especially to children who are particularly susceptible to adverse health
effects from indoor pollutants.
Since 1996, approximately 20,000 schools across the nation have
received the IAQ Tools for Schools Kit. Many of these schools have taken
action to improve their indoor environment. But, we have heard from many
people who are encountering obstacles as they use the Kit. Our hope is
that this Bulletin will provide a forum for sharing information and solutions
for implementing the IAQ Tools for Schools Kit.
In our premier issue we take a look back at the past school year.
We are proud of the strides we have made towards cleaning up the indoor
environments of schools across the country. But there is still much work
to be done. As the Director of the EPA's Indoor Environments Division, I
invite you to submit your questions, articles, and advice for future issues of
the Bulletin. Whether you are teaching in a rural school, managing the
facilities in an urban school district, or sponsoring an IAQ Tools for
Schools workshop, we would like to hear from you as we work together to
improve our nation's learning environment.
Mary T. Smith
Indoor Environments Division
In the Green
Submitted by Gregory M. James
Tobacco Control &
Environmental Health Programs
American Lung Association (ALA)
of Vermont
For the fourth consecutive
year the American Lung Association
of Vermont's participation with Indoor
Air Quality Tools for Schools (IAQ
TfS) has created a great deal of
excitement for school personnel
across the state. ALA-Vermont's IAQ
TfS program implementation began
very slowly but has grown in reputa-
tion and demand since its debut. In
Volume 1	1998-99
School Year in Ilcview

Partners' Page
Training continued...
May of 1998, with the invaluable
assistance of EPA's Mike Rogers,
ALA-Vermont trained 28 people
representing 15 schools within two
school districts of northeastern
Vermont in the implementation of
the IAQ TfS program.
This one-day training
consisted of workshops providing
basic introduction to indoor air
quality issues, ventilation issues,
instruction on how to properly utilize
the IAQ Tools for Schools Kit, as
well as a walk-through of a local
school to acquaint the participants
with the checklists. Follow-up is
currently underway and will offer
information regarding the program's
success in its implementation.
Building on the success of last
school year, ALA-Vermont continues
to replicate this training elsewhere in
the state.
In February, ALA-Vermont
held its first of three IAQ Tools for
Schools trainings. ALA-Vermont
trained 30 school staff representing15
different schools from four counties of
central Vermont. The second training
was held May 25th, and schools from
north-central Vermont are showing a
great deal of interest.
The American Lung Associa-
tion of Vermont is determined to train
70 representatives from 35 schools
across the state to implement the IAQ
Tools for Schools clean air program
this year. Lessons learned and
Why Use IAQ Tools for Schools'!
- Poor indoor air quality diminishes health and the ability to learn
~	One in 5 Americans spends their days in elementary or secondary
~	A 1995 General Accounting Office report estimated that at least
50% of our nation's schools have problems relating to indoor air
~	School enrollment is surging, yet indoor air quality keeps getting
~	It is estimated that over 5 million children in this country suffer
~	The number one reason for children missing school is due to
~	Schools are crowded: they have lots of pollutant sources (labs, art
supplies, cleaning supplies, excessive moisture) and old heating
and ventilation equipment. All of these things contribute to poor
~	IAQ Tools for Schools is a low-cost/no-cost solution to improving
indoor air quality in schools.
Page 2
follow-up information will be offered to
EPA periodically so we all can get a
sense of how the program is working
throughout Vermont.
Until then, take heart in the
fact that the word is getting out in the
Green Mountains and schools are
now seeking to improve the
"breathability" of their air. The ALA-
Vermont is proud to be able to answer
the call with the IAQ Tools for
Schools program. Together the
Environmental Protection Agency and
the American Lung Association are
helping Vermonters breathe a lot
For more information about the
American Lung Association,
visit their web site at:
IAQ in Schools
Focus Groups
In January, the Consumer
Federation of America Foundation, in
partnership with EPA, conducted
focus groups to get feedback from
school personnel about implement-
ing EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools
Kit. Focus groups were conducted
in Baltimore, Maryland and in Walnut
Creek, California, a suburb of San
Four focus groups were held
in all. The groups were comprised of
principals, assistant principals,
teachers, and facilities personnel.
Participants represented a diverse

population from urban, low-income,
suburban, public and private schools.
What We Learned
Most focus group participants
stated that in order to make IAQ a
priority for their schools, they would
like to see data showing links be-
tween good IAQ and student health,
attendance and achievement. Be-
cause schools are focused on raising
test scores, anything that could
be linked to that goal would be a
higher priority for schools.
When asked about possible
incentives to implement the IAQ
Tools for Schools Kit, participants
expressed interest in receiving a
national, top level award given by
EPA's Administrator.
Some of the participants
(teachers and facilities managers)
suggested that implementation of
the Kit might require people to
work in ways that were outside of
their "work rules," per their union-
negotiated contracts.
Still other participants were
excited about using the Kit as the
basis for either a school project or a
curriculum subject. When asked
about IAQ practices in their schools,
most facilities personnel were already
implementing at least some good IAQ
practices. In general, the facilities
managers knew about IAQ and owned
the issue. Several had seen IAQ
problems in their schools that seemed
to result in ill effects on student
Overall, the focus groups provided
EPA's Schools Team with good basic
information which helped the team
develop a draft Marketing, Technical
Support and Awards program for
encouraging more implementation of
IAQ Tools for Schools. For more on
this, see the next article.
EPA Holds Major
Meeting for IAQ TfS
In April, EPA sponsored a full day
meeting in Washington, DC to get
stakeholder participation for develop-
ing a Marketing, Technical Support
and Awards Program for implementing
the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit.
Nearly 100 participants attended,
representing: schools and school
districts currently using good indoor
air practices; State IAQ programs;
non-profit organizations which are
involved in supporting the use of good
indoor air practices in schools; private
industry representation; local govern-
ment officials; other federal govern-
ment agencies; and EPA regional
offices around the country.
EPA's goal in creating the
Marketing, Technical Support and
Awards Program for implementing the
IAQ Tools for Schools Kit was simply
to make it easier and more rewarding
for schools to use IAQ Tools for
Schools. "Based on experience and
feedback from many schools who are
working with IAQ TfS, we heard many
ideas about additional things they
could be doing to make schools a
healthier place for learning and
teaching," stated Steven D. Page,
Director of EPA's Office of Radiation
and Indoor Air, during his opening
remarks. EPA grouped these ideas
into six major themes:
1)	Create an outreach campaign
on IAQ and the IAQ TfS Kit
2)	Focus recruitment on schools/
school districts
3)	Establish a networking/mentoring
program for schools utilizing
schools/school districts with
experience using the Kit
4)	Develop technical support
tools to enhance implementa-
tion of the Kit
5)	Launch an IAQ Tools for
Schools Awards/Recognition
Program for schools
6)	Launch a Schools-Private
Sector Partners Awards
Program to acknowledge the
commitment of private sector
The meeting was very successful
and provided stakeholders with an
opportunity to provide feedback and
offer critical ideas necessary to shape
a successful strategy. Meeting
participants were also given the
opportunity to meet with other IAQ
professionals from around the country,
and hear about other schools and
school districts who are successfully
implementing the IAQ Tools for
Schools Kit.
EPA's next steps include sending
out proceedings, attendees list and
conclusions of the meeting. EPA will
continue to analyze the input from the
meeting and plans to formally launch
the Marketing, Technical Support and
Awards Program for IAQ Tools for
Schools in the fall of 1999.
For more information contact
Michele Guarneiri at (202) 564-9099.

Center for Healthy Buildings Director, David Rowson
presents at the stakeholders meeting in April.
Page 3

Schools Success Stories
Taking Action
If you have seen the IAQ
Tools for Schools video, "Taking
Action," you may remember Priscilla
Santiago as the school nurse who
initiated the IAQ Tools for Schools Kit
in her school, Little Harbour in Ports-
mouth, New Hampshire. In the video,
she tells This Old House star, Richard
Trethewey, how she helped her school
clean up its act using the Kit.
Little Harbour School was
originally built in the 1960s. The
popular educational theory of that time
was that students would learn better
in an open environment where they
could see and hear everything that
was going on around them. The
architecture of the school reflected
this theory so the school was built in
three distinct pods; an auditorium, an
administration building, and class-
When this method of learning
was no longer popular, the space was
divided into smaller, more traditional
sized class rooms. But the mechani-
cal system was built to accommodate
a large space, not multiple smaller
spaces. So ventilation became an
issue. How could students and
teachers have good, clean air in the
smaller spaces where they spent the
majority of their days?
The following interview with
Priscilla Santiago summarizes some
of the challenges and solutions
involved with using the IAQ Tools for
Schools Kit at Little Harbour.
Q: When did you first suspect that
there was a problem with the air
quality in your school?
A: Around late 1993 I noticed a lot of
cases of respiratory problems. I
suspected that it might be an indoor
air quality problem. So I developed a
survey and asked the teachers to
Q: What happened next?
A: I received about an 80 percent
response rate on the survey. Teach-
ers had chronic bronchitis, sinusitis,
and there were even some cases of
newly diagnosed asthma. So I knew
something had to be done.
Q: Once the results were in, how
did you choose EPA's IAQ Tools
for Schools Kit to assist you in
achieving better indoor air quality
in Little Harbour?
A: I attended an IAQ Tools for
Schools workshop in November 1996.
Then things finally began to come
together. I was very excited because
the Kit seemed like the perfect
solution. I was fired up to begin
implementing right away. But when I
went to our principal, I encountered
some resistance. He was apprehen-
sive about calling attention to school
Q: That's understandable. How did
you proceed?
A: It wasn't just the principal who was
apprehensive. The maintenance and
custodial staff were also hesitant.
Everyone was afraid it would cost a lot
of money and the funds would have to
come out of their budget. I think
people were also skeptical of a school
nurse saying that the ventilation
system doesn't work.
Q: So, how did you proceed?
A: It took a combined effort on the
part of the parents, teachers,
superintendent's office; everyone who
had a stake in the students' and
staffs health. I think it's important to
get everyone involved early in the
Q; Once you had the school's
leadership involved, were you able
to begin implementing?
Page 4
This Old House star, Richard
Trethewey, takes a break during the
filming of Taking Action.
A: We were just beginning to get
organized at that point. We formed a
team comprised of teachers, mainte-
nance and custodial staff, parents,
and school leadership.
Q: What were some of your biggest
problems in implementing?
A: We identified several items for
improvement that wouldn't cost too
much, but there were a few big-ticket
items that we were concerned would
cost more to fix. Once the team was
formed and the process began, it was
good to have the business manager
involved. It took a lot of negotiating for
the school to make the investment.
But once we did, we think it was
worth it.
Q: What's next?
A: We want to survey teachers and
staff to evaluate our success. So far,
we are very pleased with the results.
Our school looks and feels much
better and we are very proud of the
work we have done to improve our
indoor air quality.

Federal Coordination
EPA Co-sponsors
National Symposium
This fall, EPA co-sponsored, with
the Department of Education, The
White House Millenium Council, The
Department of Energy, and others,
The National Symposium on School
Design: Schools as Centers of
Community, in Washington, D.C. The
Symposium brought together educa-
tors, architects, school board mem-
bers and community leaders to
discuss creating quality learning
environments for the nation's children.
The event consisted of an opening
plenary session, exhibits by sponsor-
ing organizations, workshop sessions
on various design issues for new
schools, and a summary plenary
session where workshop leaders
reported on workshop outcomes.
There was also a live video teleconfer-
ence scheduled with Vice President
Gore (unfortunately canceled at the
last minute because he had to attend
Mayor Tom Bradley's funeral in
One of the highlights of the
Symposium was Secretary Riley's
visit to the IAQ Tools for Schools
exhibit area where he spoke to EPA
staff about the importance of indoor air
quality in school buildings. In his
closing remarks for the Symposium,
Secretary Riley repeated his concerns
about asthma and other indoor air
quality issues.
Another highlight was a workshop
session facilitated by David Rowson,
Director of EPA's Center for
Healthy Buildings. A full
spectrum of national experts
attended the session, A
Deep Breath: Air Quality in
Schools, including health
professionals, advocacy
representatives, school
administrators, architects,
engineers, product manufac-
turers, and state legislators.
The workgroup concluded
that indoor air quality is a
key principle in the design,
construction, and renovation
of schools, and that a
dramatic increase in attention to IAQ
among education and design profes-
sionals is needed. In terms of good
IAQ, the consensus on this issue was
perhaps the most important agree-
ment to emerge from the Symposium.
In fact, Bob Thompson and Greg
Brunner, of the Indoor Environments
Division, are now leading EPA's
efforts to write guidance for new
schools construction. The Tools for
New Schools guidance package
should be available from EPA next
Finally, the Symposium produced
the document, A Citizen's Action
Guide National Symposium on
Members of EPA's schools team pose with Secretary of
Education Richard Riley. From left: Paula Selzer, Susan
Hernandez, Secretary Riley, Jennifer Keller, John
School Design: Schools as Centers
of Community. The publication offers
guidance on planning and implement-
ing design principles for schools as
Centers of Community. It also lists
various projects (with contacts) that
have been planned and designed to
serve larger communities. This
booklet will be finalized in the fall of
1999. A draft is currently available.
(See below).
It is important to remember the
goal of creating a healthly building
whether designing, constructing, or
renovating a school. A healthy
learning environment leads to healthier
students and teachers, and results in
higher quality education.
l-'nr More In formal inn:
Contact Bob Thompson of EPA's Indoor Environments Division for details
about for Tools for New Schools at (202) 564-9056 or by email at
thompson. bob@epa .gov.
You can also order the Department of Education's draft publication A
Citizen's Action Guide: National Symposium on School Design, or order the
video from the Department of Education's web site. On-line Ed Pubs at
http://www.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html, (key in "Design Symposium")
Or call 1-800-USA-LEARN for education-related issues.
Page 5

School News From A round the Country
Pennsylvania School
District Puts
Children's Health First
The Bensalem, Pennsylvania
School District was honored this past
December by EPA for taking a major
step forward in combating indoor air
pollution in schools. During a
recognition ceremony at Shafer
Middle School in Bensalem, three
pilot schools, Cornwells Elementary
School, Belmont Hills Elementary
School and Shafer Middle School,
were awarded the IAQ Tools for
Schools Certificate for their efforts in
this program.
"We're extremely pleased with
Bensalem School District's support
for IAQ Tools for Schools, especially
its involvement with the pilot schools
program," said EPA Regional
Administrator W. Michael McCabe.
"Bensalem is showing how much they
care about protecting our children's
health by participating in this
The IAQ Tools for Schools Kit
offers sound guidance that gives
school officials the ability to improve
indoor air quality and create a
healthier environment for children and
staff. Also, good indoor air quality
can contribute to a favorable learning
environment for children, and better
productivity for teachers and staff. As
each day passes, the 110,000
kindergarten through twelfth grade
schools in the U.S. are spending
increasing amounts of their limited
resources-time and money-
attempting to fix real or perceived
indoor air quality problems.
A 1995 report by the U.S.
Government Accounting Office, The
Condition of America's Schools, noted
that over half of the schools surveyed
reported at least one environmental
problem which affected indoor air
quality. The voluntary guidance in
Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools
can save schools time and money so
that attention can be directed to
educating children.
"I'm proud to be a part of a
program that not only makes
environmental sense for the school
district, but protects the health of the
children, teachers, and staff as well,"
said Tom Vasek, Indoor Air Quality
Coordinator for the Bensalem School
Minneapolis Incorporates
IAQ Principles Into
Elementary School Design
Minneapolis Public Schools
(MPS) has designed and built Whittier
Community School for the Arts, an
inner-city elementary school that has
incorporated IAQ principles in its
The school opened for
classes in the Fall of 1997 and
currently serves students in kindergar-
ten through fifth grade. In addition to
the new school building, the complex
includes an existing park building and
gymnasium, and a Neighborhood
Early Learning Center. The project
was implemented with the cooperative
efforts of the Clean Air Group (formerly
affiliated with the American Lung
Association as the Healthy Building
Group), EPA, and Honeywell. Fund-
ing was provided by MPS.
According to the Clean Air
Group, "Students attending inner city
schools are more likely to be exposed
to poor IAQ because of several
factors; poor building maintenance
due to funding shortages; outdoor air
pollution from busy streets near these
schools; and living in substandard
In order to establish statistical
evidence of the improved indoor air
quality and subsequent health ben-
efits, The Clean Air Group, along with
Whittier Community School for the Arts. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Page 6

School News From A round the Country
the University of Minnesota, the
American Lung Association and MPS
is conducting a 3-year study. The
study will: 1) compare the indoor air
quality in Whittier with an older
control school, and 2) compare the
exposures of the students at the two
schools to environmental health
To find out more about the
Whittier school and other similar
projects contact Jennifer Keller at
202-564-9338 or by email at:
Virginia School Puts IAQ
TfS Project on Web Site
The Cora Kelly Elementary
School in Alexandria, Virginia has
taken indoor air quality on-line with
their student science project.
Students at the elementary
school surveyed schools across the
nation via email to determine if there
was a link between indoor air quality
and the age of the school building. Of
the 30 school buildings that partici-
pated in the survey, 28 of them were
at least 30 years old.
The students concluded that
building age and number of doors and
windows did not necessarily impact
the buildings' air quality. They did
find, however, that several environmen-
tal problems (ventilation and leaks)
seem to be consistent throughout the
buildings. The participating schools
will receive the IAQ Tools for Schools
Kit to do a thorough IAQ assessment.
For more information visit the
Cora Kelly website at:
ALA Los Angeles
Pilots Mentor Program
EPA's Region 9 recently
funded a program with the American
Lung Association of Los Angeles
County. The pilot program works
cooperatively with the American
Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)
to provide volunteer "mentors" to
assist schools in implementing IAQ
Tools for Schools.
In the summer of 1998, ALA
of Los Angeles County, along with
EPA headquarters and regional staff,
trained 22 volunteers from AIHA to
mentor area schools. ALA then
recruited 14 mentors who are working
with school coordinators to actively
implement IAQ Tools for Schools in
seven schools, impacting over 4600
According to ALA Program
Manager, David Berger, "We are most
successful in reaching the schools
who recognize that there is a relation-
ship between environmental health
and their students." Once a school is
interested, ALA tries to provide a
mentor. "The real challenge is to get
both the individual schools and the
district to participate. The process
has been variable at each school, but
the greatest results were achieved
when four components were present;
representation from ALA, the AIHA
mentor, the school coordinator, and
the district contact."
Since August, ALA has
reached over 300 school personnel
through training. The next step is to
evaluate the pilot, identify other
potential partners, and pursue other
funding options. ALA is optimistic.
States Mr. Berger, "The Lung Associa-
tion is committed to school environ-
mental health."
For more information on the
ALA-AIHA pilot program contact David
Berger at: (323) 935-5864 or email
to: bergerd@lalung.org.
Students Benefit from
Cooperation in NYC
Students from two schools in
New York City's East Harlem section
will be breathing a little easier thanks
to IAQ Tools for Schools. With
support from EPA Region 2, Mt. Sinai
Medical Center Department of Com-
munity Medicine, and the Director of
Environmental Health and Safety for
the NYC Board of Education, two
schools have completed implementing
an IAQ management program.
School District 4, which
encompasses East Harlem, is
plagued by asthma rates several
times higher then the national aver-
age. In fact, neighborhoods in East
Harlem, West Harlem and South
Bronx lead the nation in numbers of
asthmatic children and asthma
severity. It was through surveys done
by Mt. Sinai on childhood asthma that
District 4 learned of the affects of poor
IAQ and the IAQ Tools for Schools
Kit. Subsequently, each school
identified a coordinator to lead imple-
mentation efforts.
As a result of these success-
ful efforts, District 4 has expressed a
strong desire to expand the IAQ Tools
for Schools program to all twelve
school buildings in the district. With
the growing support of the Board of
Education, this is a goal that seems
readily achievable for District 4, and
hopefully throughout the school
For more information contact
Jean Feola at EPA's Region 2 office
by email at: feola.jean@epa.gov
Page 7

Partner's Page
EPA and Partners Train Community Leaders

Members of EPA's Schools
Team have been busy this school
year coordinating training with some
of our IAQ Tools for Schools partner-
ship organizations. In September
1998, the National Parent-Teachers
Association (PTA) held a three-day
training with over 25 participants from
across the nation. In November 1998
and again in April 1999, the National
Education Association (NEA) spon-
sored trainings attended by nearly 40
people. And in December 1998, the
National Association of Counties
(NACo) sponsored an IAQ Tools for
Schools training attended by 22
people. All trainings were held in
Washington, D.C.
The idea behind these
trainings is to provide participants with
the skills and support they need to
return to their communities and begin
using the IAQ Tools for Schools Kit.
The NACo training was
especially unique because it brought
together in one room key local
decision makers. For example, each
community was represented by an
elected official, a superintendent, and
a health and safety officer, who
attended the training as a team. This
enabled the team to work together on
issues specific to their communities.
The two-day training focused
on several aspects. First, participants
were introduced to the Kit through a
general background presentation
about indoor air quality issues and
how the Kit is designed to address
these issues. This was followed by
presentations on radon, and asthma;
specifically, the IAQ triggers that can
• A *M
EPA's Bob Thompson leads an IAQ field training session at a school in
Arlington, Virginia.
cause asthma and how to identify
students who might have asthma.
The training also included an
introductory lesson explaining the
mechanics of a school ventilation
system. At least half the day of
training was spent on a field trip to a
local school so participants could
view and analyze IAQ problems first
hand, with the intent to return to their
communities equipped to put the Kit
into action.
Finally, participants worked
with each other to brainstorm about
potential obstacles to implementa-
tion, and to develop an action plan for
achieving results.
Since EPA began training
people to use the IAQ Tools for
Schools Kit two years ago, hundreds
of people have been trained and
hundreds more are using the pro-
gram, or have made commitments to
use it. As of December 1998, over
20,000 IAQ Tools for Schools Kits
had been distributed nationwide.
If you are interested in
attending a training, please check the
IAQ TfS training web site at:
training, htm/
Page 8

Information Resources
To Order the Kit:
To order the IAQ Tools for
Schools Kit free of charge fax your
request on school letterhead to the
IAQ INFO Clearinghouse at:
FAX (703) 356-5386 or call:
(800) 438-4318.
If ordering multiple copies, or
if you don't have school letter head,
you may order copies of the Kit for
$22.00 from the Government Printing
Office by calling (202) 512-1800.
The order number number is:
You can also download a
text-only version from our web site at:
Lights, Camera...
Taking Action, the newly-
released video produced by EPA and
partners, is now available. In Taking
Action, Richard Trethewey of the well-
known series, This Old House, shows
how one school successfully imple-
mented the IAQ Tools for Schools
Action Kit.
In Ventilation Basics, Steve
Thomas and Richard Trethewey
explain the importance of good indoor
air quality and show how to properly
operate and maintain school ventila-
tion systems. Many indoor air quality
problems can be prevented or solved
by in-house staff using the basic
techniques provided in these videos.
Both videos are now available on one
VHS cassette.
It is important that these
videos be used in conjunction with
guidance contained in the Indoor Air
Quality Tools for Schools Action Kit.
For more information on other indoor
air quality topics, contact the IAQ
INFO Clearinghouse: (800) 438-4218
or (703) 356-5346. Fax (703) 356-
5386 or visit EPA's website at:
Let Us Hear From
Our main concern is protect-
ing children's health and the environ-
ment from harmful indoor air pollut-
ants. We work cooperatively with
people and organizations who share
our concern about health and environ-
mental issues pertaining to indoor air
In future editions of the IAQ
Tools for Schools Bulletin, we would
like to share some of your perspec-
tives on issues, successes, and
challenges you have experienced.
Whether you use the guidance in our
Kit, or use another means of improv-
ing the air quality in schools, we
would like to hear from you.

United States Environmental
Protection Agency (6609J)
Washington, DC 20460
Official Business
Penalty for Private Use