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New carpeting can release formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a strong odor. Breathing air that contains low levels of formaldehyde can cause burning and watering eyes. Carpet is also a breeding ground for things that trigger asthma attacks, such as dust mites, dander and spores.

New carpeting

Animal (Rodent)
Warm-blooded animals kept as pets in the classroom may trigger asthma. The most effective method of controlling exposure to animal allergens in schools is to keep the school free of feathered or furred animals.

Furred animals

Portable air cleaner
Certain air cleaners, under the right conditions, can effectively remove some particles. Air cleaners may not be able to reduce allergic reactions caused by larger particles such as pollen, some molds and animal dander. Most of these particles are found where they settle on surfaces rather than in the air. Ozone-generating air cleaners can add to respiratory problems of students and teachers and should not be used.

Portable air cleaner

Temperature can affect comfort and indoor environmental quality. Changing thermostat settings or opening windows to try to control temporary changes in temperature can worsen comfort problems. Classroom temperatures should be maintained between 68 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months and between 73 degrees and 79 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months.


Unit ventilator
Unit ventilators are commonly used in schools. They provide a means for heating and cooling air, as well as bringing fresh, outdoor air directly into classrooms. Routine maintenance should include cleaning interior components such as heating and cooling coils and condensate pans. Blocking the unit ventilators with desks or workstations or using them for storage also should be discouraged. Classrooms should be supplied with 15 cubic feet of outdoor air per minute per person.

Unit ventilator

Chalk dust can trigger an asthma attack. Students with asthma should try to stay away from the chalkboard and erasers, or wash their hands after writing on the board. Alternatives include the use of dust-free chalk or white boards with nontoxic markers. Chalkboards and ledges should be cleaned regularly.

Chalkboard and ledge

Plants can add beauty to the classroom environment but, if they are not maintained, dead leaves, soil and other plant materials can be a source of mold growth. The potential for them to contribute to the overall level of mold in the classrooms should not be ignored.