Asthma rates among children are reaching alarming numbers. One in 12 children suffers from asthma – 8.7 percent or 6.3 million children in the year 2001 compared to 3.6 percent in 1980. This means more than double the rate of children suffer from asthma than two decades before.
While the specific reasons for this increase are still unknown, exposure to specific allergens, volatile chemicals and strong odors are known to trigger asthma attacks. The most common environmental asthma triggers include dust mite allergens, cockroaches, mold, and animal dander. Recent studies have implicated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as significant risk factors for asthma. Exposure to VOCs emitting from sources such as cigarette smoke, cleaning agents, solvents, furnishings, paint, flooring products, building materials, and personal hygiene products may increase the risk of childhood asthma. Since children spend most of their time in schools, at day care facilities, or at home, it is important to reduce their exposure to environmental pollutants as much as possible in these environments.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), twenty percent of the U.S. population, 55 million people, spend most of their time in more than 120,000 public and private schools. The USEPA estimates that half of U.S. schools have indoor air quality problems. Children are at greater risk to develop health problems due to poor indoor air quality because they are more susceptible to pollutants than adults and they spent the majority of their time in school or daycare facilities. Children are still growing and breathe in proportionately more air than adults. This means indoor pollutants, such as certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides and allergens can be more harmful to children.
You can help protect children’s health by purchasing products that pass the strict tests given to earn the GREENGUARD certification. Worthington Direct has dedicated a special catagory to help take the guess work out of which products meet these high demands. Visit www.worthingtondirect.com today and click on the GREENGUARD Certified Furniture catagory.
The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute’s (GEI) mission is to improve public health and quality of life, including our children’s, through certified, low-emitting products and materials. Following this mission, the GEI created a new standard and product certification for low-emitting products and materials for use in daycare and school facilities. The tough new GREENGUARD Certification for Children & Schools is an extension to the established GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification Program to more effectively protect children from exposure to high levels of potentially harmful chemicals. The new standard takes the sensitive nature of school populations and the unique building characteristics and maintenance conditions found in schools into consideration and presents the most rigorous product emissions criteria to date.
GREENGUARD Children & Schools Product Certification Program complies with the State of California’s Department of Health Services Standard Practice (CA Section 01350) for testing chemical emissions from building products used in schools. As such, GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certified products can be used as a strategy to earn valuable credits in the CHPS Best Practices Manual for K-12 schools. continue reading