“Sick Schools 2009 – America’s Continuing Environmental Health Crisis for Children” a national report with state by state assessments of the problems and opportunities, advocates for environment and children’s health thanked Senators Boxer, Lautenberg, and Klobuchar, and other members of the Environment Committee for advancing the EPA priorities on children and schools and urged more support for EPA.
The report, with contributions from policy advocates in 20 states and the District, offers peer-reviewed studies and compelling evidence of how polluted air inside and outside schools escalate health care costs, increase absenteeism, and reduce test scores. This report highlights actions we can all take to accomplish two goals simultaneously. Not only can we provide a healthier environment for our children to learn and play, we can also make a down payment on Health Reform by saving billions in avoidable health care costs we currently waste having to treat environmentally related conditions like asthma. Some of the highlights are:
EPA needs resources to meet congressional mandated deadlines for federal guidelines on school siting (June 2009), other environmental issues (December 2009), and to provide grants to states.
There is a robust scientific literature in children and healthy school environments; benefits and savings from healthier occupants far outweigh savings from energy efficiencies.
EPA has long-standing voluntary programs on school environments.
States have little capacity to address children’s environmental health at school.
Despite published, accepted science, there is no systematic national state by state survey of the conditions of schools, taking into account environmental factors that impact children.
First convened in 2001, the Coalition has shaped and won two federal laws to address children’s environmental health in schools, and through regular conference calls and annual meetings, has provided information and technical assistance to foster the and share the work of scores of state and local policy groups seeking root reforms. For annual meeting agenda and speakers, as well as pictures, see http://www.healthyschools.org/coalition.html