Tuesday, April 18, 2017

District Heights Had High Levels of Carbon Dioxide: PGCPS Test Results Released.

District Heights Elementary School Mold/Air Assessment Shows The Air was Unhealthy and Not Safe! 
After we sent a public information Request, PGCPS sent the test results from March 2017. Here are the highlights:

1. The amount of Carbon Dioxide was at Neuro-TOXIC levels that can effect brain function according to recent research. Classroom K2 had from 1,287 ppm, Classroom 10 had 1,892, Classroom 7B had 2,200 and Classroom 4 had 2,346 ppm.  The background outside air level was 466 ppm!

Levels over 900ppm are too high for health.

Research shows that high levels of carbon dioxide effects brain function, attention, memory and concentration.  A Harvard School of Public Health study found that high CO2 levels -in the 1,000 parts per million concentration like in District Heights classrooms have a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making. They found that, on average, a typical participant’s cognitive scores dropped 21 percent with a 400 ppm increase in CO2. Read the study here. 

Research shows inadequate classroom ventilation, as evidenced by CO2 concentration exceeding 1000 ppm is  associated with reduced school attendance. Read the study here. 

"A number of studies have identified CO2 associated symptoms and respiratory diseases such as sneezing, rales, wheezing, rhinitis, and asthma (Carreiro-Martins et al. 2014; Ferreira and Cardoso 2014). Other symptoms, cough, headache, and irritation of mucous membranes, were also identified (Ferreira and Cardoso 2014). Lack of concentration was associated with CO2 concentrations above 1000 ppm. Gaihre et al. (2014) found that CO2 concentrations exceeding 1000 ppm is associated with reduced school attendance. Teachers also report neuro- physiologic (i.e., headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating) symptoms at CO2 levels greater than 1000 ppm (Muscatiello et al. 2015)."
P.N. Bierwirth, PhD Read it here.

How long have children been breathing this air?
Why isn't clean air a priority in PGCPS school?

Read Elevated Indoor Carbon Dioxide Impairs Decision-Making Performance

3. Several mold species were in District Heights Classrooms which can cause asthma like symptoms. 
Testing shows Myxomycetes, Pithomyces, Cladosporium and Dicyma for example and clearly Classroom 4 had the worst air quality.

According to the World Health Organization Report
A study of the respiratory health of 4,600 children from six cities in the northeast USA demonstrated that the presence of mold and dampness in the homes were correlated to several respiratory symptoms as well as a number of non-respiratory symptoms. The effect was of similar dimension to parental smoking (Brunekreef et al., 1989). Two studies involving 15,000 children and 18,000 adults from 30 communities in Canada came to similar conclusions. The authors concluded that a non-allergenic mechanism was involved. A dose-effect was also seen in that more visible mold yielded more symptoms. 
Overall the mold contamination was associated with a 50% increase in asthma and a 60% increase in upper respiratory disease (Dales et al., 1991a; 1991b). A large European study (Zock et al., 2002) including 38 study centres worldwide and 19,000 adults concluded that indoor mold growth has an adverse effect on adult asthma. Reported mold exposure in the last year was associated with asthma symptoms and bronchial responsiveness (OR range, 1.14-1.44). This effect was homogeneous among centers and stronger in subjects sensitized to Cladosporium species. As in the Canadian studies, the authors concluded that both allergic and non-allergic mold related effects were involved in the health outcomes. There is some evidence that exposure to environmental molds may play a role in asthma-related mortality (Targonski et al., 1995).

There're no federal standards for "safe" levels of mold. So when PGCPS states it is not breaking any standard, that is because standards are not set that have considered these health effects. 

Q and A on Air Quality
What constitutes a “safe” level of mold? 
In an air sample, mold counts should be equal to or below outdoor counts. There should be no stachybotrys. Not one spore. Aspergillus should be present only at negligible levels. The standard in Belgium requires no more than 2 1/2 percent aspergillus in the total count. However in District Heights Classroom 4 had 8% for example, much higher than Belgium allows.

Why is mold a problem?

Stachybotrys and other mold may produce several toxic chemicals called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can be present in spores and small mold fragments released into the air. Once in the air, children and teachers and staff may breathe them into their lungs and have symptoms.

Why do we call this "toxic"? 
Because any exposure that causes memory problems or brain problems or increased asthma issues is toxic! Kids cannot learn in toxic environments. Kids cannot learn when they are having respiratory issues.

Classroom carbon dioxide concentration, school attendance, and educational attainment.
Effects of toxic exposure to molds and mycotoxins in building-related illnesses.

Basidiomycete mycelia and spore-allergen extracts: skin test reactivity in adults with symptoms of respiratory allergy.

Sensitization to Airborne Ascospores, Basidiospores, and Fungal Fragments in Allergic Rhinitis and Asthmatic Subjects
Neurobehavioral and pulmonary impairment in 105 adults with indoor exposure to molds compared to 100 exposed to chemicals.

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