Indoor and Ambient Air Quality

Allergens and irritants in the air can significantly contribute to the development and exacerbation of asthma. Sources of indoor and ambient air problems include inadequate ventilation, mold, wood and environmental tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust, toxic chemicals, pests and rodents, and more.

Since its inception, much of ARC’s work has centered on improving indoor and ambient air quality. Key accomplishments include: developing and disseminating materials that help schools tackle indoor air problems, assisting New England states in developing bus anti-idling regulations and programs, and successfully promoting and evaluating the use of emission reduction technology.

Our work in this area has included production of a number of resources and guidance documents, available below.

ARC Resources for Tackling Indoor Air Problems in Schools

Reducing Asthma Triggers in Schools: Recommendations for Effective Policies, Regulations, & Legislation (2005) This document provides concise recommendations for state laws and regulations to help control and prevent indoor air quality problems.

Health Considerations When Choosing School Flooring This fact sheet and its companion purchasing menu provide guidance for those charged with procuring school flooring, with attention to impacts on health, costs and the environment.

Environmentally Healthy Schools: Tips For Teachers (2004) This factsheet provides school teachers with practical advice on how to support asthma-friendly schools.

What’s that Smell: Simple Steps to Tackle School Air Problems A step-by-step guide for school administrators and business/facilities managers.

ARC Resources for Promoting Cleaner Buses and Fuel

Toolkit for Reducing Diesel Emissions An online toolkit designed to help school communities, environmental officials, and others make informed decisions about ways to reduce harmful diesel emissions from school buses.

Options for Reducing Pollution from School Buses A menu to guide school districts, health and environmental agency staff in evaluating different retrofit and fuel choices.

Model Anti-Idling Policy

Additional Information about Air Quality and Health

For more extensive resources on specific topics, see our Healthy Homes page.

Clearing the Air: Asthma and Indoor Air Exposures (2001)Institute of Medicine report evaluating the various indoor air pollutants’ contribution to asthma.

The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke (2006) A Report of the US Surgeon General

A Study Links Trucks’ Exhaust to Bronx Schoolchildren’s Asthma Fernandez, Manny. The New York Times. October 29, 2006.

The Health Effects of Wood Smoke by Environment and Human Health, Inc.

Air Now Air Quality Index by the US Environmental Protection Agency