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Call for $100 million in 2024 Federal Budget to Protect Children from Harmful Airborne Exposures in Schools

Marking the 21st Annual National Healthy Schools Day, a national coalition of parents, teachers, and school professionals call on President Joe Biden and congress to support $100 million in Fiscal Year 2024 funding for the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Air and Radiation/Indoor Environments Division to protect school children and personnel from unhealthy environments in schools and childcare facilities. The Coalition is also requesting an additional $10 million in funding for EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection to increase public health research and services for children’s environmental health.

Coverage of National Healthy Schools Day will include:

  • Two new powerful letters urging a boost to EPA’s FY 24 budget for schools and kids health: 1- letter to President Biden signed by sixteen U.S. Senators, organized by Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY); 2- letter to US EPA Administrator Regan, signed by 90 national and regional advocacy groups.
  • Details about the all-day Breathing Better Healthy Schools Forum, at the Legislative Office Building, Hartford, CT, April 4
  • Statements from national organizations such as American Federation of Teachers, First Focus, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Learning Disabilities Association of America, and more in support of robust funding for EPA voluntary programs on indoor air in schools and children’s environmental health.

School environmental health is an urgent problem that demands a broad sustained response. K-12 schools are more densely occupied than nursing homes, and 95% of all occupants are women and children. Over 20 years of published research has shown that indoor environmental exposures are greater than outdoor exposures, and that dirty indoor air in school damages health, thinking, and learning.

“School building conditions have been neglected for decades,” said Healthy Schools Day and national Coalition coordinator Claire L. Barnett. “But schools and their communities can help by using US EPA’s voluntary guidance on effective interventions. EPA has the authorizations and the proven programs to help schools address complex facility issues. When children have school-induced asthma, headaches, nausea, and bloody noses, attendance and test scores drop, families are extra-stressed, and health care costs rise. With robust funding from congress, EPA can activate Biden’s languishing Clean Air in Schools challenge with expanded national outreach and technical assistance to states and schools and communities. Congress could help lift standardized test scores and reduce health care costs if it appropriates $100M to EPA’s office of air for school indoor air and $10M to EPA’s office of children’s health for research and health services.”

This year’s National Healthy Schools Day will focus on the clear and significant need to educate, train, and encourage schools and childcare facilities on child-safe and effective preventive management of facilities.

Additional information available April 3rd.

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