Our impact on the indoor air
There are various ways in which our behaviour and activities affect the quality of indoor air at school. This is something we should bear in mind so that we do not unknowingly bring potential biological and chemical contaminants into the school building. Studies have indicated a rise in indoor chemical concentrations following cleaning activities or after the renovation of indoor spaces involving the use of flooring materials (primers, screed, adhesives and floor coverings), new furniture, wallpaper, .
Watch what you’re doing!
However, the school staff and students themselves may be a source of pollutants. Clothing may introduce allergenic particles from home (e.g. cat or dog dander or dust). Our bodies may also release chemicals, such as the synthetic fragrances used in personal care products like deodorants, perfumes, body lotions and hairstyling gels. These chemicals may cause discomfort or allergic reactions in sensitive people, as well as adverse health effects. Establishing basic hygiene measures such as washing hands or using a handkerchief when sneezing or coughing will help to prevent the spread of common germs. Where there are no mechanical devices to ensure proper ventilation, it is very helpful to open the windows especially after the use of cleaning products or when the air becomes stuffy. Letting in air from outside will help to lower indoor concentrations of chemicals such as VOCs and CO2 that is released when people breath. Tobacco smoke is still regarded by many public health authorities and researchers as particularly relevant to indoor air quality in schools. Even though smoking indoors has been banned in many European countries, tolerant attitudes and a lack of awareness of the health risks to smokers and non-smokers may not guarantee a fully smoke free environment.