Close this search box.

Common Health Hazards in Schools

Home » Information and Referral Clearinghouse » Common Health Hazards in Schools
Classroom Chair and Desk

Note: for information on hazardous/toxic cleaning and disinfecting products, visit our Green Cleaning and Healthy Products page.


What School Nurses Know: We Need New Laws to Clean Up Schools (survey), Healthy Schools Network and NYS Association of School Nurses, 2000


Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Indoor Air Quality – IAQ- Scientific Findings Resource Bank, IAQ-SFRB
Developed by the Indoor Environment Department of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory with funding support from the U.S. EPA.


WEBINAR Back to School: Energy Savings + Healthy Indoor Air, Healthy Schools Network, 2021
The US Department of Energy $500 million school retrofit program as of 2023 needs to commit in writing to insuring IAQ in its program when doing school retrofits. Addressing IAQ during retrofits is a best practice endorsed by ASHRAE and US EPA in 2011.


VIDEO:  The Healthy Indoors Show, April 1, 2021
The Health of Our Schools with Claire Barnett and Mansel Nelson


Workplace/School Model Fragrance-Free Policy, Healthy Schools Network, 2017  


Parent’s Guide to School Indoor Air Quality, Healthy Schools Network, © 1997, 2003, 2012,
6 pp, classic reference in the field of children’s environmental health at school, written by and for parents; contains the basics of school IAQ, simple steps, what to ask for/look for, and what to do if no one listens and your child is still sick.



Asthma and Environment Fact Sheet for Parents and Schools, Healthy Schools Network, © 2003, 2012, 2014
Facts about eliminating asthma triggers and the side effects of asthma medications.


Asthmagens Database, Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics
Select “Display All Asthmagens” to view the complete list of substances reported as asthmagens by occupational asthma experts.



Asbestos  and School Buildings, US EPA


Asbestos Fact Sheet, NY Committee for Occupational Health and Safety



Managing Radon in Schools, US Environmental Protection Agency



Mercury in Schools, New York State Department of Health



Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting
US Environmental Protection Agency, regulations and best practices to avoid lead exposures to children, pregnant women, and others in homes, schools, and childcare facilities


Parent Guide to Lead in School


How to Identify Lead Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Products


Green and Lead-Free PCs, Notebooks, and Tablets: Model Contract Language for Schools and Guidance for Parents and Families on Finding and Buying, 2018     


Eliminating Lead Risks in Schools and Child Care Facilities, National Collaborative Workshop Report, 2018
Healthy Schools Network, Learning Disabilities Association of America, and Children’s Environmental Health Network


WEBINAR Lead in Drinking Water with pediatrician Jerome Paulson, MD, 2016


Drinking Water

Drinking Water in Schools and Childcare Facilities, US Environmental Protection Agency



Mold and Indoor Air Quality in Schools, Environmental Protection Agency


Mold and Dampness in Schools, Healthy Schools Network, © 2019.
2 pp, outlines how to use the NIOSH Mold and Dampness Assessment Tool


Molds at School, Healthy Schools Network, © 2002, 2012
8 pp, outlines information on why schools are moldy, the impact mold has on health, basic prevention practices; urges swift cleanups over testing.


Dampness and Mold Assessment Tool in School Buildings, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2018


NIOSH Alert: Preventing Occupational Respiratory Disease from Exposures Caused by Dampness in Office Buildings, Schools, and Other Nonindustrial Buildings, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health


Dry Erase Markers

Markers Guide, Healthy Schools Network, © 2011
3 pp guide on the use and hazards of dry erase markers in schools.



Pesticides, US Environmental Protection Agency


Disinfectants, US Environmental Protection Agency


Kick the Pesticide Habit: Children, Learning and Poisons Don’t Mix, Healthy Schools Network, 2011
4 pp, guide on pesticides, safer solutions, school application, IPM, and more.



PBDE: Toxic Flame Retardants, What Women, Children, and School Personnel Need to Know, Healthy Schools Network, © 2007, 2012
4 pp, includes the dangers of PBDEs, as well as associated health effects and ways to avoid the use of these toxins.


PBDEs: Information for Pediatric Health Professionals, Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units, 2010



PCBs in Building Materials, US Environmental Protection Agency


Exposure Levels for Evaluating Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in Indoor School Air, US EPA, Oct 2023


WEBINAR Health Effects of PCBs in Schools & Indoor Air, Healthy Schools Network, October 2021
With David Carpenter, MD; moderated by Chip Halverson, ND.


US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY Flow Chart for Managing PCB Containing Materials in School Buildings



Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) and Human Health Concerns, Healthy Building Network, 2009



 The Perils of PVC Pipes, Beyond Plastics, 2023



Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs), Collaborative on Health and the Environment,


EMF’s, Precaution and Schools: US Supreme Court Amicus curiae
Brief for US Supreme Court


Playgrounds and Synthetic Turf

Playgrounds & Toxic Threats, Healthy Schools Network, © 2010, 2012,
6pp, facts and information about chromate copper arsenate (CCA), lead, artificial turf risks, and playgrounds.
also see more information on turf in Promoting Green and Healthy Schools (link)



Press Release: Child Health Groups Call for Robust Assessment of Hydrofracking Health Impacts, Healthy Schools Network New York State press release, 2011


Disinfecting Wipes

Disinfecting Wipes Guide, Healthy Schools Network, 2016


Food dyes

Smart Guide to Food Dyes, Agriculture and Trade Policy Institute, 2009


Translate »
Skip to content