Children face all sorts of challenges going to school. Many of these are obvious, such as lack of time studying, bullying, or even things like poor nutrition or domestic issues. But some are less obvious, and can be very insidious, such as poor air quality.
Studies have shown that poor indoor quality can have farther-reaching effects aside from respiratory ailments and allergies. Indoor air pollution in schools can have a negative impact on school attendance and academic performance.
For instance, a Chinese study on PM2.5 content in schools in China showed that children in schools with higher levels of particulates in the air resulted in more cases of asthma and hospital admission. Meanwhile, a study from Oregon showed that students taking exams at 72°F temperatures did better than those in 61°F and 82°F conditions.
In short, various indoor air quality metrics can have a direct effect on your child’s academic performance. In a nutshell:
- Air pollution causes inferior memory performance. A study from Health Affairs shows that high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) results in a 7.37% decrease in memory function.
- Poor air results in poor concentration.
- Classrooms with inferior ventilation end up with worse exam performance. A study from the University of Tulsa showed that students in classrooms with poor air quality and inadequate ventilation performed an average of 74 points lower on exams.
- Poor air quality results in more absences. One of the biggest causes of absenteeism is asthma. All around America, asthma results in 14 million days of absence for children nationwide every year.
Keeping these in mind, we can help our children do better in school if the environment they study in has better air quality. While it is more difficult to control the air in a public institution such as a school, parent teacher associations can have parents working together with the schools to create a better learning environment for children.