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Hartford Conn. Schools Win National EPA Award for Indoor Air Quality Program

Release Date: 01/26/2006
Contact Information:

News Release
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
New England Regional Office
For Release: January 26, 2006

Contact: David Deegan
EPA New England Office of Public Affairs, 617-918-1017

(Boston) - The Hartford School District in Connecticut is among six schools and districts nationwide recently recognized by EPA for their efforts to improve indoor air quality.

The Hartford School District has been chosen for an "Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools" 2006 Excellence Award. This recognition is EPA’s most prestigious award for exemplary indoor air quality programs and commitment to providing a healthy learning environment for students and staff. The winners were selected from hundreds of schools and districts nationwide who have successfully initiated programs to improve indoor air quality.

“Children spend so much time in schools that we need to ensure they have a healthy environment to learn in,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “This award recognizes those schools that are taking care of indoor environmental pollutants and irritants that may affect the health and productivity of students and staff.”

Poor indoor air quality can pose a variety of health risks, including headaches, nausea, exacerbation of asthma and other respiratory problems.

In 1995, EPA developed the voluntary Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Kit and Program in response to government studies highlighting the deteriorating conditions of schools across the country and the alarming rise in asthma cases, particularly among school- and preschool-age children. Today, one out of every 13 school-age children has asthma. Asthma alone accounts for 14 million missed school days each year.

The Tools for Schools Kit is designed to help school staff identify, resolve, and prevent indoor air problems and is available free to schools. About 26,000 schools and school districts across the country have adopted indoor air quality management practices consistent with EPA’s guidance.

Hartford Public Schools believes in providing students with “Safe, Clean, and Healthy Schools.” As an urban school district, the "Tools" program mobilized staff to address indoor air issues and established procedures that led to indoor air improvements.

By using this kit, the district was able to respond to Connecticut’s new law requiring school systems to adopt indoor air quality programs by 2007. Each school has an established School Health and Safety Team trained to use information in EPA kit to identify indoor air problems. Teams include a school nurse, administrator, custodian, teachers, physical education instructors, and social workers. District mentors, who help teams, enhance the success of the program. In addition, indoor air quality management is now included in planning for new facilities and is a critical element of renovation.

“The Hartford Public Schools is extremely honored to receive the recognition from EPA and wants to acknowledge the hard work and participation by all staff members and collaborative agencies that help make this program a success,” said Al Hinds, chief of building operations at Hartford Public Schools.

For more information about the EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program or the national symposium, visit

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