Here are the facts: More than half of the nation's schools have environmental deficiencies that adversely affect indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality causes illness and can greatly diminish learning potential. In the 1980s, the number of children with asthma increased 60 percent. Asthma is the number one cause of absenteeism in schools.
For years, studies have reported that poor IAQ can cause illnesses, forcing some kids to miss school. According to the American Lung Association more than ten million school days are missed each year due to asthma alone. (Now, data suggests that poor IAQ can reduce a person's ability to perform specific mental tasks requiring concentration, calculation, or memory.) How has this happened and how bad is the problem? And what is being done to protect our children and to provide a safe learning environment?
The poor maintenance of school environments can cause or intensify illnesses among children and their teachers, resulting in higher rates of absenteeism, less time in the classroom, and ultimately, reduced academic achievement. But programs that promote healthy indoor air quality, or IAQ, have been known to dramatically improve health, increase students' ability to learn, improve test scores, and improve adult productivity in the school system leading to smarter students.