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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: April 5, 2011
CONTACT: Jessica Morton, 603 271-1390

April 11 is National Healthy Schools Day
NH Partners for Healthy Schools Encourages Schools to Improve their Air Quality Using No Cost or Low Cost Solutions

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Partnership for Healthy Schools (NHPHS) is joining students, parents, and school staff throughout New Hampshire in observing National Healthy Schools Day on Monday April 11, 2011. People throughout the country on this day promote healthy and green indoor school environments for all children and staff.

Too many of New Hampshire’s schools are overcrowded, unhealthy, poorly maintained and impede quality learning. Children, on average, spend approximately 30-50 hours per week in school and they are more vulnerable to environmental hazards because they proportionally breathe more air, drink more fluids, and eat more food than adults. In spite of their susceptibility, there are only minimal standards to regulate children’s exposure to environmental hazards in school facilities. Scientific studies suggest that poor environmental conditions in schools have an adverse effect on students’ health and academic achievement.

The NHPHS wants school officials and staff to know they can improve some of their building exposures by establishing or setting no cost or low cost solutions. Here are 5 suggestions New Hampshire schools could implement today.

  • Clear the air inside. EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program provides FREE information to help schools prevent and solve indoor air quality problems. Visit www.epa.gov/iaq/schools.
  • Clear the air outside. Create and enforce a “Clean Air Zone” in your school yards by establishing a policy that would require all bus drivers and parents to turn off their engines as soon as they arrive in the schoolyard, especially when waiting for passengers to board.
  • Buy and use chemicals carefully. Health, safety, and environmental implications should be considered before chemicals are purchased for use in schools. Consider only purchasing and using chemicals that are third party certified. Proper chemical storage and management is critical for reducing chemical exposures and costly accidents.
  • Help your School Custodians. Teachers and students can do a 20 second drill at the end of every day and pick up any items that ended up on the floor during the day. Wastebaskets can be put next to the entrance of the classroom so the custodian can located the basket and clean the room efficiently.
  • Hold an anti-clutter day – reduced clutter increases airflow and decreases asthma triggers, dust mites and pest problems.

Our schools are building blocks of our communities and the keystone of our future. We hope you will consider celebrating National Healthy Schools Day. If you plan an activity for that day, be sure to go to www.NationalHealthySchoolsDay.org and register your schools and/or district’s activity, and please also let the NHPHS know. After the events, please forward Jessica Morton, Jessica.Morton@des.nh.gov or (603) 271-1390 any blurbs and/or photos and we will put them on the NHPHS website www.nationalhealthyschoolsday.org.

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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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