Across the world, links between bad air quality and developmental delays are being scientifically proven.
A report from The World Green Build Council identified that ‘poor indoor air quality in schools has a negative effect on children’s health and academic performance’. Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director of Public Health and the Environment, has stated “Air pollution is stunting our children’s brains, effecting their health in more ways than we suspected”.
In recent years, multiple studies have shown that air pollution in and around our schools negatively affects both the health and the learning of our children. Exhaust gasses from traffic and other external sources can mix with toxic fumes already within school buildings (such as cleaning fluids and mass-produced paints) creating a cloud of harmful gasses.
What schools and parents need to know?
- The air inside school buildings can be five times more polluted than the air outside. In some cases it can be up to 100 times more polluted.
- Bad air quality has been linked to a reduction in attendance at school — something that schools strive to avoid.
- Poor indoor air quality has been linked to a reduction in the ability to concentrate, calculate and memorise — reducing cognitive development.
- Regular exposure to pollutants, including high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mould, dusts and airborne bacteria have been linked to sick building syndrome (SBS), which can create headaches and lethargy.
- Children are much more susceptible to SBS because they inhale more pollutants per KG of body weight than adults, due to higher breathing rates.
- The classroom is a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Children gathering in schools is one if the main ways germs circulate in the community.
- More than 950 schools in the UK are situated on or near roads recorded as having illegal pollution levels. (Check how polluted your school is at The Times).
- Air pollution has been ranked as one of the biggest environmental threats to our health by the World Health Organisation.
- Rates of childhood asthma are on the rise due to these increased rates of pollution, especially in our cities.
Toxic clouds are being created and contained within our schools
- In a bid to keep the insides of our schools clean, industrial strength cleaning solutions are often used, many of which contain toxic VOCs. These include heavy-traffic floor polishes, liquids to remove grease and grime from surfaces and keypads, and disinfectants in changing rooms and toilets.
- Cheap mass-produced paints can release VOCs into the air over the course of days and weeks after being applied.
- Winter months are particularly bad for indoor air pollution as this is when windows stay closed and the central heating stays on.
- Old and badly maintained ventilation systems often make the situation worse. They can harbour and distribute bacteria, mould spores and dust too.
Airlite reduced the level of NO2 by over 75% at St Mary’s RC Primary School
St Mary’s RC School in Chiswick was identified by the Mayor of London’s Office as being one of the 50 most polluted schools in London. A group of concerned parents set out to tackle this, turning it into one of the greenest.
In addition to creating a Green Living Wall and paint a mural with Airlite in the playground, parents seized the opportunity to further tackle the indoor air pollution by repainting the school hall and restaurant. The result: NO2 levels (some of the most dangerous toxins from vehicle emissions) were reduced by a staggering 91% during school hours.
How painting with Airlite can help
Airlite reduces air pollution
Made with natural materials, Airlite actively reduces pollutants like nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide, returning air to a purer and healthier state. No nasty chemicals and no need for noisy air filters. A real solution for better air in the classroom.
Airlite is antibacterial
In a world of super-bacteria and constantly-evolving microbes, Airlite keeps our indoor environments healthier and cleaner. No need to mop the walls with detergent or reach for the antibiotics!
Airlite tackles mould
Thanks to the natural alkaline properties, Airlite stops moulds from developing on walls and ceilings. With mould shown to increase the development of asthma by some 40%, Airlite creates a healthier and safer environment for our children and their teachers.
Airlite repels dust and airborne dirt
By attracting water molecules in the air to create an invisible, protective film on the wall, Airlite blocks dirt and dust from attaching to the surfaces.
Airlite reduces odours
No more nasty school smells! Without using distracting filters or chemical-based air fresheners, Airlite reduces smells by actively breaking down odour molecules.