Your School Environment An Ounce of Prevention Maryann Suero Ph.D. US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5 Regional Team Manager, Children’s Health April 6, 2002
A Healthy School Environment is • NECESSARY • POSSIBLE
School EMS: The “Ounce of Prevention” Approach • What is a School EMS? • What are the benefits of a school EMS? • What would an EMS for my school look like? • How can my school adopt an EMS?
What is a School Environmental Management System? • A way to assess and continually improve the environment • Not a SCARY Process • Work in a stepwise fashion to address a school environment in an integrated and comprehensive way
Basic EMS Approach to Continual Improvement PLAN ACT DO CHECK
Some Benefits of a School EMS • Reduce HAZARDS to students, teachers, staff, visitors in schools • Reduce Liability (reduce insurance costs???) • Increase Environmental Stewardship • Improve Communications • Improve Relationships • Parents / Administration • Teachers / Administration
What Might a School EMS Look Like?NOT ALL AT ONCE • Develop an environmental policy • Self-audit • Use a pollution prevention approach • Training / awareness / competence • On-going evaluation / improvement • Improve communications • One step at a time!!!!!
Some Elements to Consider in the Self-Audit • Indoor Air Quality • Use of Pesticides (inside & outside) • Presence of Hazardous Chemicals • In classrooms • In janitor’s closets, boiler rooms, garages • Fire prevention • Food safety • Radon • Spills / Emergency Response plans • Diesel bus idling policy • Pollution Prevention / Waste Management
Helpful Hints for Building a School EMS • Use Team Approach • Pace Yourself • Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel • Make use of existing resources • IAQ Tools for Schools Program • School IPM Program • Food Safety Program • Waste Wise Program • Go with your strengths
How Can My School Adopt an EMS? • Identify people who sense the need • Educate yourselves (great resources available) • Figure out who else needs to be involved • Convince, cajole, coerce them to join • Just Do It !
Resources for Schools • Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schoolswww.epa.gov/iaq/schools • Integrated Pest Managementwww.epa.gov/pesticides/ipm • Mercury www.mercury-k12.org/ • Resources for Schools (handout)
EPA Resources on CEH • www.epa.gov/children • Tips to Protect Children from Environmental Threats (www.epa.gov/children/whatwe/tips.htm) • Engage Youth in Children's Environmental Health Protection (www.epa.gov/children/whatwe/engage.pdf)
A Healthy School = A Healthy You Just Do It!
Please feel free to contact me for more information, or to suggest ways we may be able to partner in activities that will have a positive impact on children’s health Maryann Suero Regional Team Manager, Children’s Health US Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 77 W. Jackson Blvd, T-13J Chicago, IL 60604 (312) 886-9077 email@example.com