Poor air quality in schools is linked to health implications

Pupils in schools with lower air quality are more likely to experience health-related problems, according to a report published in Environment Health. 

Air quality amongst children is of increasing concern amongst many researchers as more and more research is revealing that younger children are more at risk to the health implications of air quality. 

Researchers from the National Institute for Health and Welfare set out to investigate the impacts of air quality across 129 primary school buildings in Helsinki.

They began their investigation by assessing each primary school for its air quality and then they asked 12,000 pupils to fill out a survey based on the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare’s indoor air questionnaire, in order to gather data about the pupil’s symptoms. 

The researchers found that inadequate air quality was linked to the pupils respiratory and general health symptoms, such as colds, coughs and headaches. 

However, they concluded that more research is needed in order to reliably assess air quality. Other factors can influence these health symptoms, such as age, health and stress, therefore they concluded that it is not possible to reliably assess the relationship between air quality and health symptoms based on these factors alone. 

The authors of the study said that much more research is needed in order to fully understand the impacts of poor indoor air quality at schools. 

Professor Juha Pekkanen, said: ‘We need more research on how much indoor air impurities explain the differences in symptoms between schools in comparison to other factors that influence these symptoms.

‘To date, these other factors have not been thoroughly researched.’ 

Air Quality News has reported on various studies that have linked poor air quality to health implications amongst children. 

For example, in August last year (2019) a study was published estimating that up to 33% of new childhood asthma cases could be prevented every year if European countries met tougher PM2.5 guidelines. 

Another study has also found a link between childhood exposure to air pollution and disorders such as ADHD and autism.

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