Are you sick from sick schools?
MCS/ES. Asthma. Autism. Learning disabilities. Behavior problems…
Unhealthy school buildings can present real barriers to access.
It shouldn’t be like that. You shouldn’t lose your health or your job or have your child’s health and future suffer because there’s something unhealthy in the air at school.
There are enough examples of the benefits of a healthy learning environment over an unhealthy one (from toxic chemicals, molds and wi-fi for example), and tools for how to make change happen.
Here are some resources (in no particular order):
New to the sick building scene is the issue of wi-fi in schools. This is causing similar problems for some teachers and students as mold and toxic chemicals have in the past (and continue to even now)
“Frank Clegg, one of the biggest names in Canadian technology, announced today that he stands behind parents who object to wireless internet in schools.
“There are already children who can’t go to school because of headaches, nausea and heart problems from the wireless systems,” said Clegg who ran Microsoft Canada for 14 years and now leads a national organization called Citizens 4 Safe Technology (C4ST).” …
“This 627-page “how-to” book describes how typical allergies and environmental illness overlap, and details the typical and less-readily recognized clues in various infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, or adults… Dr. Rapp discusses hyperactivity, Ritalin, Tourette’s, learning problems, aggression, depression, fatigue, headaches, intestinal complaints, yeast problems, muscle aches, and recurrent infections.”
For this book and more great materials from Dr Rapp:
Healthy Schools Guidelines
“Approximately 3 per cent of Canadians have been diagnosed with environmental sensitivities (ES) or multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). This represents over 1 million Canadians, many of whom are students or staff of schools. Creating healthier environments for those with ES can benefit everyone in the building.
The Environmental Health Clinic has released a paper entitled Guidelines to Accommodate Students and Staff with Environmental Sensitivities: A Guide for Schools (pdf). The paper is co-written with Canadians for A Safe Learning Environment (CASLE).”
CASLE Healthy Schools Safe Buildings Scent Free Programs Improving Indoor Air Quality
Canadians for A Safe Learning Environment (CASLE) works to improve the condition of school buildings and the products and practices used in schools, so that school children and staffs have safe and healthy places to spend their days.
Hare Publishing Services: Environmental Sensitivities
For your convenience, we are including below links to a variety of documents on the subject of accommodating the needs of persons with environmental sensitivities. These documents address needs in schools, the workplace and hospitals. Also included are downloadable PDF files…
My personal opinion is that scent awareness programs are not as good as policies, and of course, any policy is only good if it is enforced.
“Make it clear that the policy applies to everyone”
(including visitors, etc).
Toronto District School Board Scented Products Awareness Program 2008
Scented products have an impact on everyone. For most people, perfumed, scented or fragrant products are enjoyed, but for those who have asthma, allergies or environmental sensitivities, exposure can result in illness, absence from work and even hospitalization.
Brochure (140K 5/16/2008)
Frequently Asked Questions (28K 5/16/2008)
List of scent and fragrance-free alternatives (23K 5/15/2008)
Some Other Fragrance-Free Places
Healthy Schools Network, Inc.
Canadian Lung Association
For those of us who are housebound (as well as others who may be interested), I’ve posted free online learning resources we can use when the brain fog isn’t prohibitive… There are some great things available online these days.
The 2013 Back to School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies
“Last year, independent laboratory testing commissioned by CHEJ and the Empire State Consumer Project found toxic chemicals linked to asthma and birth defects widespread in children’s vinyl back-to-school supplies. Seventy-five percent of children’s “back-to-school” supplies tested in a laboratory had elevated levels of toxic phthalates, including popular Disney branded school supplies, such as vinyl lunchboxes, backpacks, 3-ring binders, raincoats, and rainboots. The levels of phthalates found in children’s school supplies would be illegal if these products were toys. Just like toys, school supplies are used by young children that are uniquely vulnerable to chemical exposure.”
The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) presentations/publications
“The Cleaning for Healthy Schools Toolkit is a free “do-it-yourself” tool on how to find and phase in the use of certified green cleaning products that are proven to work and to save money.”
Healthy Child Healthy World’s brand NEW eBook,
Easy Steps to Healthy Schools & Daycares.
Online ebook: http://bit.ly/16O5lfM
Low-rez download at this link: http://healthychild.org/files/HCHW_ebook_SchoolDaycare_Q3_LOW-RES.pdf
Become An Effective Advocate
Daycare & Preschool
Use arts and crafts materials safely
“Just because you can buy arts and crafts materials in stores doesn’t mean they are free from health and safety hazards.”
“If you suffer headaches, dizzy spells, severe mood swings or feel ill when doing arts and crafts, leave the project for a while and get fresh air to see if you feel better. These symptoms could be warning signs that you need to take more steps to protect your health. If symptoms continue or return, get medical advice.”
(You might want to print off some of the diagnostic tools from the MCS/ES page here before your go to the doctor, as most aren’t trained in understanding symptoms from everyday chemical exposures)
Go Back to School With Safer Art Supplies
Here’s to healthier learning environments, wherever they may be!