Chemical Use & Management
Chemicals are used by students, teachers, facility personnel, and administrative staff throughout schools: in science classrooms and laboratories; in art classrooms; in vocational shops such as autobody, auto repair,and printing; and in facility maintenance and operations such as cleaning, painting, and pest control. Thoughtful chemical purchasing and management contributes to a healthy school environment, so consider the possible health, safety and environmental implications before buying a particular chemical. Proper chemical use and management (storage, labeling, disposal) is critical for reducing chemical exposures and costly accidents which ultimately affect student learning and attendance.
Featured Chemical Use & Management Resources:
Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool (HealthySEAT)
HealthySEAT is a new software tool from EPA designed to help school districts conduct voluntary, customized self-assessments of their school facilities for environmental, health, and safety hazards.
Source: EPA - Office of Air and Radiation - Indoor Environments Division
Lead in Paint, Dust, and Soil
This page provides information on hazards associated with lead, training, brochures, and links to regional sources.
Source: EPA - National Lead Information Center
PCBs in Building Caulk
In recent years, EPA has learned that caulk containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was used in some buildings, including schools, in the 1950s through the 1970s. Buildings built after 1980 are less likely to contain caulk that contains PCBs.
Caulk is a flexible material used to seal gaps to make windows, masonry and joints in buildings and other structures watertight or airtight. EPA does not have information on the extent of the use of PCB-containing caulk or whether it was primarily used in certain geographic areas. To date it has been found in buildings in the northeastern United States and in joints in concrete water storage basins in the western United States.
Source: EPA - Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
California Portable Classrooms Study
The Air Resources Board (ARB) and Department of Health Services (DHS) completed a comprehensive study of the environmental health conditions in portable (relocatable) classrooms. This study investigated classrooms in kindergarten through 12th grade public schools and included a large representative sample.
Source: California Air Resources Board
Cleaning for Healthy Schools Toolkit
Free online toolkit developed, peer-reviewed, field-tested in ten states, and sponsored by the Collaborative on Green Cleaning in Schools.
Source: Green Cleaning for Healthy Schools
Environmental Compliance and Best Management Practices Guidance Manual
This comprehensive environmental manual is available on-line in both English and Spanish.
Source: EPA - Region 2
Environmental Health and Safety in the Arts
This environmental health and safety manual covers art education and production. This manual is available on-line in both English and Spanish.
Source: EPA - Region 2
Green Cleaning Pollution Prevention Calculator
This calculator quantifies the projected environmental benefits of purchasing and using "green" janitorial services and products. It is designed to forecast the environmental benefits of reducing chemical use by doing some or all pollution prevention measures typically involved in the routine interior cleaning of an office building. This tool also enables users to identify which green cleaning measures will have the greatest impact in reducing their use of hazardous chemicals and in preventing pollution.
Source: EPA - Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Walkthrough Video Assessment
This is a streaming-video module directed towards schools in city environments. The purpose is to help people identify potential indoor air quality problems and how to correct them. Based on EPA's Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program.
Source: Rutgers University
LEED for Schools
The LEED for Schools Rating System recognizes the unique nature of the design and construction of K-12 schools. Based on the LEED for New Construction rating system, it addresses issues such as classroom acoustics, master planning, mold prevention and environmental site assessment.
Source: U.S. Green Building Council
Managing Your Environmental Responsibilities: A Planning Guide for Construction and Development
EPA guidance manual that provides the construction industry comprehensive environmental information.
Source: EPA -- Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
New Hampshire Healthy School Environments
This website provides links to resources to help schools assess and address health, safety and environmental issues in school buildings. Both a fact sheet on NH Department of Environmental Services (NH DES) efforts to customize EPA's HealthySEAT , as well as New Hampshire customization of the software may be downloaded from this site.
Source: New Hampshire Department of Envrionmental Services Air Resources Division - Air Resources Division
Reducing Pesticide Exposure at Schools
This September 2007 publication from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and health explains how exposures and potential health risks to children and school staff can be reduced by avoiding routine pesticide applications through an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.
Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Safe Lab: School Chemistry Laboratory Safety Guide
The document provides teachers, and ultimately their students, with information
so that they can take the appropriate precautionary actions in order to prevent or minimize hazards, harmful exposures, and injuries in the laboratory.
Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission & NIOSH
California - Los Angeles Unified School District Product Review Database
Searchable database of over 5,000 products evaluated by the LAUSD Office of Environmental Health and Safety to determine their suitability for use in and around Los Angeles schools.
Source: Los Angeles Unified School District - Office of Environmental Health & Safety
Connecticut Mercury Education and Reduction - School Lab Cleanout Program
This website provides access to information about mercury reduction and education efforts in the state of Connecticut. Posted is a report detailing CT DEP's 2002-2003 School Lab Cleanout Program, which assisted 37 schools, at a cost of $160,000.
Source: Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection - Bureau of Waste Management
Green Clean Schools
Healthy Schools Campaign has published the first-ever multimedia how-to guide to help schools adopt cleaning programs that encourage the use of green products, equipment and practices in schools.
Source: Healthy Schools Campaign
New Hampshire Pollution Prevention in Schools Project
New Hampshire's Department of Environmental Services/Pollution Prevention Program has been providing outreach to NH schools re: proper chemical management. This web site provides information about that program, and provides links to fact sheets on topics such as laboratory chemical management and guidance on eliminating mercury from schools.
Source: New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services - Pollution Prevention Program
Tennessee School Lab Chemical Cleanout Campaign
The primary goals of the TN progam are to remove potentially dangerous chemicals from schools, while educating teachers and students about proper chemical management, lab safety, greener teaching options, and chemical waste disposal. This is a two-year program, funded largely by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Source: Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Division of Community Assistance - Tennessee Pollution Prevention Partnership
Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools
The Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools (KGHS) Program is a new, voluntary effort to empower students and staff with the tools needed to take action and make their school operate at peak efficiency.
Source: Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools
Maine Department of Education Facilities Management Template
Includes a draft ME School Facilities Maintenance Plan including checklists for Maintenance, Operations, Grounds, Custodial, and Vehicle Services
Source: Maine Department of Education
New England Resources for Schools
This website provides links to the Regional schools topics page, hazardous waste fact sheets, examples of the types of environmental issues found in schools, and other links of interest to the schools community.
Source: EPA Region 1
New York State Guidelines for Green Cleaning Products
Guidelines and specifications for the procurement and use of environmentally sensitive cleaning and maintenance products for all public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools in New York State.
Source: New York State Office of General Services - Environmental Services Unit