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Fast Facts about Healthy Schools

Over 141 unregulated chemicals were found in the drinking water of 42 U.S. states along with an additional 120 chemicals that are regulated. Of these 141 unregulated chemicals, 52 have been linked to cancer, 41 to reproductive toxicity, 36 to developmental toxicity, and 16 to immune system damage.

• Creating products from recycled content rather than virgin materials can result in a reduction of 27 kinds of air and water pollutants.

• Electronic waste, such as televisions, computer monitors, computers, cell phones and video game consoles contain flame retardants, lead, mercury, and other chemicals. This type of waste is growing 2 to 3 times faster than any other waste stream.

Improving air quality has been shown to result in fewer sick days.Students, faculty and staff spend 85-90% of their day indoors, where the air quality can be up to 100 times worse than outdoors.

• One recent study of school districts in California found that students exposed to daylight progressed 20% faster on math tests and 26% faster on reading tests than those with little daylight.

• The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculated that people consume 50 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight every day over the course of a lifetime. Over 40 studies have found adverse health effects in rats given less than one hundredth of that amount!

• Many pesticides take a very long time to break down. They persist indoors for weeks on furniture, toys and other surfaces and can persist for years in household dust. Research indicates that levels of pesticides in indoor air are often ten times higherthan those measured in outdoor air.

Indoor air pollution is often 2-5 times greater than outdoor levels of air pollution due to a general lack of adequate air filtration and ventilation.

• Of the 85,000 synthetic chemicals in commercial use today, only a small fraction has been individually tested for toxicity on human health. A wide variety of toxic or hazardous chemicals are routinely used as ingredients for cleaning products.

Looking for additional information? Check out the Eco-Healthy Child Care Factsheets developed by the Children’s Environmental Health Network.

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