Strive to be Toxics Free
Overcrowding, toxic waste sites, polluted indoor air, toxic chemical and pesticide use, mold, lead in paint and drinking water, asbestos....These are words that make us cringe, yet more than ten years into the 21st century, these all continue to threaten the health and well-being of American children at school. Much of the debate about conditions in and around schools focuses on drug use, violence, budget cuts and test scores. But the threat to schoolchildren from environmental health problems is just as real.
Many childhood diseases are on the rise. Asthma afflicts nearly 5 million children in the US, and is the primary cause of school absenteeism. The rates of many types of childhood cancer have risen, as have learning disabilities. Many scientists believe that a great number of these diseases and learning problems can be related to children’s exposure to environmental health hazards in the womb and in their environment—including at school.
But parents, teachers, students and communities are demanding -- and creating -- change. Discover how you can create a toxics free environment at your school. It's simpler than you think.
For a fuller discussion of this issue, read our "Pillar 1: Strive to be Toxics Free" chapter from our Report.
October 13th, 2011
by Clara MacLeod, high school intern