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Release Date: 08/08/2002
Contact Information: Wesley Lambert, EPA Media Relations, 404-562-8316
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Williamson County School District has been selected as an Indoor Air Quality-Tools for Schools Excellence Award winner. It is one of three schools/school districts in the southeast (twenty-one nationally) selected for exemplary support and implementation of EPA's Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools (IAQ TfS) program to improve indoor air quality. The other two winners in the southeast are Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, Kentucky and Buist Academy for Advanced Studies, Charleston, South Carolina.

After its success with the American Lung Association's Open Airways Program, Williamson County School District decided to pilot the IAQ TfS Program. An Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) volunteer initiated the first step in the IAQ TfS Program with classroom walkthroughs, which led to the development of IAQ-related goals for the maintenance department. These changes included replacing plug-in deodorizers with natural alternatives; limiting the use of pets and drafting plans for ventilation system replacement. The IAQ Team educated school staff during faculty meetings and coordinated district-wide asthma training during teacher in- service days. The maintenance department played a critical role by creating detailed packets that explained the district IAQ management plan, results of walkthroughs, and reference materials. The Team currently speaks about the program at other schools and to organizations working to improve IAQ, and is writing an article for a local newspaper describing the success of their pilot program.

The awards were presented to school district representatives on Thursday, August 8, 2002 at EPA's 3rd annual IAQ Tools for Schools National Symposium in Washington, D.C. The Symposium brings school officials, nurses, teachers, facility managers, parents and others together to raise awareness about indoor air quality and the potential negative effect that poor indoor air quality can have on children's health.

Children spend an average of eight hours a day in school. Pollutants inside classrooms and other indoor school facilities are often 2-5 times higher than outdoor levels and can trigger asthma attacks. Asthma in young children has risen by nearly 60 percent in the last 15 years and is responsible for 10 million missed school days per year.

IAQ Tools for Schools is a nationwide initiative to help school officials assess, resolve, and prevent indoor air quality problems and reduce exposure to asthma triggers in school facilities. Available to schools at no cost, the IAQ Tools for Schools kit shows schools how to improve indoor air problems at little cost by using simple activities and existing schools staff.

For additional information regarding the IAQ Tools for Schools Program visit the website at