Indoor Air Quality
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2004-101
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Guidelines: This checklist covers general recommendations for addressing indoor air quality issues in school districts. No Federal regulations or laws require these recommendations. States, however, may have additional regulations that apply.
Questions marked with this symbol may require the help of an outside expert.
- Is someone designated to develop and implement an indoor air quality management plan for your school district?
- Does your district have an indoor air quality management plan that includes steps for preventing and resolving indoor air quality problems?
- Has your school district been tested for radon, and have radon-mitigation systems installed where needed?
- Does your school district use integrated pest management principles in all areas?
- Is spot-treatment of pesticides used to control infested areas?
- Are all pesticide applicators trained in the safe use of pesticides?
- Have painted surfaces in your district been tested for lead-based paint, and has a lead control or removal program been implemented?
- Are school buildings inspected once or twice each year for conditions that may lead to indoor air quality problems?
- Is a preventive maintenance schedule established and in operation for the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system? Is the schedule in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations or accepted practice for the HVAC system?
- Does the HVAC preventive maintenance schedule include the following?: checking and/or changing air filters and belts, lubricating equipment parts, checking the motors, and confirming that all equipment is in operating order.
- Are damaged or inoperable components of the HVAC system replaced or repaired as appropriate?
- Are reservoirs or parts of the HVAC system with standing water checked visually for microbial growth?
- Are water leaks that could promote growth of biologic agents promptly repaired?
- Are damp or wet materials that could promote growth of biologic agents promptly dried, replaced, removed, or cleaned?
- Are microbial contaminants removed from ductwork, humidifiers, other HVAC and building system components, and from building surfaces such as carpeting and ceiling tiles when found during regular or emergency maintenance activities or visual inspection?
- Is general or local exhaust ventilation used where housekeeping and maintenance activities could reasonably be expected to result in exposure to hazardous substances above applicable exposure limits?
- When point sources generate airborne concentrations of contaminants above applicable limits, are local exhaust ventilation or substitution used to reduce the exposure concentrations to below the limits?
- When the carbon dioxide level exceeds 1,000 parts per million, is the HVAC system checked and repaired as necessary to ensure the system is operating properly?
- When the temperature is outside of the range of 68 to 79ºF, is the HVAC system checked and repaired as necessary to ensure the system is operating properly?
- Are humidity levels maintained between 30% to 60% relative humidity?
- When a contaminant is identified in the make-up air supply, is the source of the contaminant eliminated, or are the make-up inlets or exhaust air outlets relocated to avoid entry of the contaminant into the air system?
- If buildings do not have mechanical ventilation, are windows, doors, vents, stacks, and other portals used for natural ventilation operating properly?
- Are complaints promptly investigated that may involve a building-related illness?
- Is smoking in school buildings prohibited except as part of a classroom instruction or a theatrical production?
- Do written district board of education policies and procedures prohibit smoking in school buildings?
Renovations and Remodeling
- During renovation work or new construction, are local ventilation or other protective devices used to safeguard employees and students from dust, stones, other small particles, and toxic gases, which may be harmful in certain quantities?
- Are renovation areas in occupied buildings isolated so that dust and debris is confined to the renovation or construction area?
- Are precautions implemented in case lead-based paint is disturbed during renovation or new construction?
- When renovating or during new construction, are product labels checked, or is information obtained on whether paints, adhesives, sealants, solvents, insulation, particle board, plywood, floor coverings, carpet backing, textiles or other materials contain volatile organic compounds that could be emitted during regular use?
- Is the information referred to in Question 29 used to select products and to determine necessary measures to be taken to comply with indoor air quality regulations?
- Are employees notified at least 24 hours in advance, or promptly in emergency situations, of work to be performed on the building that may introduce air contaminants into their work area?
- Is the maintenance schedule updated to show all maintenance performed on the building systems?
- Does the maintenance schedule include the dates that the building systems maintenance was performed and the names of the persons or companies performing the work?
- Are maintenance schedules retained for at least three years?
Building systems includes the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, the energy management system, and all other systems in a facility that may impact indoor air quality.
Integrated pest management is a sustainable approach to controlling pests by using biological, mechanical, physical, and chemical means in ways that minimize health risks, environmental risks, and cost.
For additional information and resources for addressing indoor air quality issues in schools, contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse at the Web site http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/index.htmlexternal icon.