The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5188.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 2:45 PM

Abstract #61356

Using data and guidelines for risk communication and environmental education in schools: Example from the UCLA Portable Classrooms Study

Derek G Shendell, MPH, DEnv, Environmental Science and Engineering Program, UCLA School of Public Health, c/o LBNL (IED/EETD), 1 Cyclotron Road, MS 90-3058, Berkeley, CA 94720-8132, (510) 486-6404,

The prevalence of prefabricated, portable classrooms (portables) has increased due to class size reduction initiatives, population growth, and limited resources for maintenance and modernization. Teachers and parents have reported complaints about health symptoms, of unknown etiology, due to using portables. Classroom mechanical wall-mount heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems may function improperly or not be maintained; lower ventilation rates may impact indoor air and environmental quality (IEQ). Interior finish materials, furnishings, and teaching and cleaning products may release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde, as a function of age, temperature (T), relative humidity (RH), and usage patterns. For a pilot study (UCLA PCS), in two Los Angeles County communities where school districts (SDs) and public K-12 schools with portables consented, 1-3 randomly selected portables (one newer, one older, n=13) and one main building classroom (n=7) from each participating school were included. IEQ measurements conducted over a five-day school week in the cooling and heating seasons, or repeated twice in the cooling season, included VOCs, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, air exchange rate, and indoor air T and RH; technician walk-through surveys; and, an interview questionnaire about HVAC system operation and maintenance. The method developed for the UCLA PCS to summarize and communicate the most important of these quantitative and qualitative findings to the participating SDs and principals will be presented. Session participants will be able to identify most school IEQ concerns, and recognize and apply strategies for risk communication and environmental education, as presented or modified, to their research and practice.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Environmental Exposures, Risk Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Various School Health Topics

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA