Rooted In Inc: Taking Action to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Schools

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on January 11 the availability of up to $32 million to address indoor air pollution in schools as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The funding will protect children’s health by providing resources to organizations that help K-12 schools in low-income, disadvantaged, and Tribal communities develop and adopt comprehensive indoor air quality management plans to reduce indoor air pollution.

EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels. According to the EPA, World Health Organization, and 50 other organizations worldwide, indoor air quality in schools is a top 5 health issue for our children. Indoor air problems can increase long- and short-term health effects for students and staff, increase absenteeism, reduce academic performance, and shorten the lifespan and effectiveness of facility systems and equipment.

How big a problem is poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools?

Surprisingly, there is NO mandate or law requiring schools to test the quality of air in classrooms and in schools. Rooted In is addressing this concern in our community with our The Air We Breathe: Clean Air Initiative project. Starting in March, we will teach classroom lessons at Aldo Leopold School about the importance of good indoor air quality. For only $65, we will help students build DIY air purifiers with MERV 13 furnace filters, box fans and duct tape. The EPA tested the DIY purifier in their bio aerosol laboratory and proved that the DIY purifier was 99% effective in removing airborne viruses. The DIY air purifier is a cost effective and efficient solution.

As part of our lessons, students will learn about air pollution, the ramifications of poor indoor air quality and how to create solutions that they can be leaders of. The air purifiers will be placed in different classrooms along with an indoor monitor to measure air quality. Using the monitor, they will check air quality daily and track sick days in the classroom. The results will be compiled at the end of the school year and implemented again the following school year.

Our April school of the month is Red Smith. We would like to implement this project at 1 school each month, but we need your help. Our goal is to raise $2700 to pay for the supplies to build the DIY air purifiers. Please consider donating to support our children’s health, We Can Clean the Air.

Click HERE to help us Clean the Air in schools to protect our children’s health.


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