Prevalence and implementation of IAQ programs in U.S. schools

Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Jan;114(1):141-6. doi: 10.1289/ehp.7881.


In this study, we determined the extent to which U.S. schools are implementing indoor air quality (IAQ) programs. We administered a questionnaire on IAQ programs and practices to a representative sample of schools. Participants were asked to provide information on the use, administration, implementation, challenges, and benefits of the IAQ program in their school. We developed an IAQ Practice Index to determine the level of activity directed toward IAQ in schools. The index was computed based on responses to specific survey questions and was normalized to a range of 0 to 100. Each question was weighted qualitatively according to its contribution to strong IAQ management practices. Forty-two percent of schools in the United States have an IAQ management program, and there has been sustained growth from 1998 through 2002 in the number of schools that have such programs. Nearly half of those schools use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's IAQ Tools for Schools program. The IAQ Practice Index scores varied widely for schools with an IAQ management program, suggesting that having a program is not equivalent to implementing effective IAQ policies and procedures. Respondents indicated that their IAQ programs led to improved workplace satisfaction, fewer asthma attacks, fewer visits to the school nurse, and lower absenteeism. When actively supported by the school administration, an IAQ program appears to be a valuable factor in improving the learning environment for U.S. schoolchildren.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control*
  • Prevalence
  • Schools*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency