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Environmental Health

Indoor Environmental Quality

NEA and NEA HIN believe that students and staff have the right to a great public school that fosters a safe and healthy learning and working environment. Poor indoor environmental quality (IEQ) caused by mold, poor ventilation, chemicals, extreme temperatures, asbestos, and other pollutants negatively impact the health and achievement of all building occupants. Given that students and staff enter school building and remain there a good portion of the day, the environment should be one of superior IEQ. Learn more

Lead Contamination 

Approximately 4 million households have children living in them who are being exposed to lead, and there are roughly half a million U.S. children, ages 1-5, living with blood lead levels above what would be required for medical attention. Old, lead-based paint is the most significant source of lead exposure in the U.S. today. It can be found on window frames and doors, or on the interior or exterior walls of buildings (some of which might be schools) built before 1978. Even very low levels of lead in the blood can result in permanent damage to the brain and nervous system in children. Learn more

Food Allergies

Approximately six million children in the U.S. have one or more food allergies, and among children with food allergies, 16-18% have experienced a reaction at school. At any time, school staff may need to respond to a food allergy emergency - whether in the classroom or cafeteria, or on the playground, athletic field, or school bus. That’s why it’s important for educators to know about food allergies and understand their role in helping to prevent and respond to allergic reactions in schools. Learn more


Asthma is a leading chronic illness among children and youth in the U.S. and one of the leading causes of school absenteeism,. In 2007, 5.6 million school-aged children and youth (5-17 years old) were reported to currently have asthma. In addition, teachers and custodians have been identified as having higher rates of occupational asthma. Learn more

Green, High Performance Schools

Did you know that on average, green schools save $100,000 per year on operating costs? That’s enough to hire at least one new teacher, buy 200 new computers, or purchase 5,000 textbooks. A high performance or green school is a school facility and its grounds that create a healthy environment conducive to educating and learning while saving energy, resources and money. NEA and NEA HIN believe that students and school staff deserve a safe and healthy school environment and green, high performance schools provide just that and more. Learn more

Cleaning for Health

Cleaning for health is a widely accepted cleaning approach that protects public health, without adversely affecting the health of staff, building occupants, or the environment. Some traditional cleaning products that have been used in schools (and homes) contain ingredients that have been found to be hazardous to human health and the environment. Learn more

Integrated Pest Managment

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a school IPM program employs common sense strategies to reduce sources of food, water and shelter for pests in school buildings and on grounds. IPM programs take advantage of all pest management strategies, including the judicious  and careful use of pesticides when they are necessary. Learn more

Online Training

NEA HIN through the NEA Academy, is now offering online training on a variety of health and safety topics including school indoor environmental quality, asthma, and health literacy. The goal of these courses is to educate NEA members on these important health and safety issues and to provide them with opportunities to receive professional development credit. Learn more