SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Indoor air pollution ranks in the top five environmental risks to people, according to studies done by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Science Advisory Board.

Nearly half of all schools in the United States have reported issues with indoor air quality.

It trigger asthma, which affects nearly 1 in 13 school-age children. Asthma ranks as the number one reason for school absences due to chronic illness, according to the EPA.

In addition to respiratory issues, other symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sinus congestion
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Irritation of the eye, nose, throat, and skin

Indoor air quality problems can lead to a cough, eye irritation, headache, allergic reactions, and, in serious cases, Legionnaire’s disease or carbon monoxide poisoning.

How do you know if your child’s symptoms are related to Indoor Air Quality issues? The EPA offers this checklist:

  • Health complaints are associated with particular times of the day or week.
  • Other occupants in the same area experience similar problems.
  • Health complaints end when the child leaves the building and recur when the child returns.
  • The school has recently been renovated or refurbished.
  • The child has recently begun working with new or different materials or equipment at school.
  • New cleaning or pesticide products or practices have been introduced into the school.
  • Smoking is allowed in the school.
  • A new warm-blooded animal has been introduced into the classroom.

The EPA put together the Indoor Air Quality Tools For Schools. It identified several things schools should do to manage the risk, including inspecting HVAC systems regularly, conducting routine inspections for moisture and mold, spect for pests, establish cleaning and maintenance protocols, use low-emitting cleaning and maintenance products, test for Radon, and control moisture in buildings, mechanical systems, and occupied spaces.