May 5th, 2017 3:11 PM by Dan Howard
How could we ignore our children’s health?
We know enough to want our kids to have a safe and healthy home. We are wise enough to know that being healthy as a child leads to better health as an adult. We have learned that exposing our children to mold, lead, asbestos, radon, VOC’s, pesticides, MRSA and other toxins needs to be stopped. We know that children do not learn as well when they are sick from environmental hazards. We understand the defects like lead that can cause brain damage or mold that can result in a child becoming an asthmatic.
What are we thinking if we are not willing to deal with these issues?
I admit there are barriers to doing a good job in providing healthy buildings for our kids. Together, we need to look at that set of obstacles and get past them.
Barriers to Environmental Health Action
Funding: It takes money to identify and correct the problems
Knowledge: There is a shortage of environmental consultants who are qualified to look at all of the risks
Inertia: We do things “the way we always have done them.” Change to do new programs often waits until someone becomes seriously ill.
PR Risk: It is crazy, but when we identify a problem to fix it, we can get public outrage and negative press. It is easier to turn a blind eye and mot know what is a problem
Untrained staff: The people in the classroom are often not be trained to identify the unhealthy conditions
Compartmentalized workers: We look at our own issues. An example: The person in charge of storing books may not recognize lead dust from the peeling paint in the book closet as a hazard.
No good place to start: Any major effort should have a start and goals. Where do we find those?
No “band leader””: There needs to be a person who is granted authority to act.
Technician’s treat conditions as events, not deal with the process: An example would be painting over mold so that it is not visible instead of looking for the HVAC, plumbing or roof defect that caused the mold.
This is a daunting list of challenges. We want to start the process of getting past those barriers that can affect the health of our children and solutions to create a healthier environment in our schools
Our exposing our youth to mold, lead, asbestos, radon, VOC’s, pesticides, MRSA and other toxins needs to be stopped. It starts with education about these issues and each of us. Check back with us for videos and postings to identifying and solving environmental hazards in schools.