Getting clear on air quality

What do you do when your daughter comes home from school with her hair and clothing infused with scent, and her teacher assures you there are no Glade inserts or other synthetic air “fresheners” in her trailer? In my case, I thanked the teacher for her kind offer to stop wearing perfume but, thinking it’s not likely that this sweet woman is the cause of something that pervasive, I would be doing some research on air quality issues in our county and in general.

Hand sanitizer

After we attended a birthday party in a play gym and I left with hair that had the same smell that permeates my daughter’s hair and clothing every day at school, I concluded that it has got to be the hand sanitizer! I had to step away when they squirted the kids’ hands with it.  Sure, I’m much more sensitive than others to noticing these things, but  just because kids and other adults don’t pick up on the smell, that doesn’t mean the synthetic chemical agents don’t exist or that our kids should be regularly exposed to something that might have endocrine disruptors or other toxic agents. I expect to soon spend some more quality time at the Environmental Working Group‘s website to get clearer on where I should focus my concern. But there are also a lot of other great organizations working on air quality, especially in the next few weeks.

 

Child with breathing treatment

 

April 28-May 2 is Clean Air Week or Air Quality Awareness Week. The Metro DC/Baltimore-area non-profit organization Clean Air Partners is sponsoring a Twitter chat focused on air quality and respiratory health on Wednesday, April 30, 12-1 p.m. The chat, which will include regional organizations, health experts, and influential voices, will “seek to educate people on how to protect themselves from poor air quality and what they can do to reduce the threat it poses.” Follow @CleanAirPartner and use the hashtag #AirMatters. To learn more, check out Clean Air Partners’ Air Alerts, Haze Cams, and tips for reducing pollution.

 On a national level, next week the non-profit organization Moms Clean Air Force is sponsoring Mama Summit 2014 on Wednesday, May 7 with rallies at state capitols and in other cities across the country. Locally, the closest events to DC are in Frederick, Maryland and Harrisburg, PA. There is a Virtual Summit and ways to get involved all week, including a Twitter chat on Monday, May 5 at 11:30 a.m. that will include EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and partnering organizations Clean Water ActionClimate ParentsEvangelical Environmental NetworkHealthy Child, Healthy WorldWomen for a Healthy Environment. Participate with the hashtag #MamaSummit and follow the organization at @CleanAirMoms.

Moms Clean Air Force suggests on Tuesday, May 6 to write a letter to the editor or a blog post on the subject “this Mother’s Day I believe that being a good mom means being an active and engaged citizen” and on Friday, May 9 to add your voice to the organization’s Thunderclap.

Blue skies

I’ve joined the Environmental Health & Asthma subcommittee of my school district’s Safety and Health Advisory Board and look forward to learning what efforts our county has made with respect to indoor air quality … and also to outdoor air quality, especially during renovations and tearing-down of old schools next to newly-built schools.


high school being demolished 2

Let’s hear what action you’ve taken and what progress you’ve made in your district! It would be great to share resources across Metro DC school districts.  Leave a comment below or contact us about a more in-depth guest post.

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About the author

Jessica

One Comment

  • AIR POLLUTION is a topic taken lighly, taken for granted and receiving very little attention in respect of environmental care. It is not visible. Ruins to land and sea animals and vegetation raises loud cries from society and environmental care takers. Air has its caring people too. People themselves react only when the negative effects of air pollution show upon themselves………. and that too with no sense of urgency to correct and remedy the deteriorating scenario. For about 10 years now, my business has been with families showing one by one the indoor ruins to AIR and its effects and the urgent need for correction. http://www.facebook.com/indoorhealth is tuned to bring awareness to as many people.

    While governments of the day initiate laws and pracice enforcements on use of chemicals in home used products, bring safety measures to industrial and manufacturing discharge ………… and this is in no way an overnight affair. Communal pressures in groups need to effect.

    What can families do to correct the indoor air clean and be of quality. Lives of stay home wives, mothers, infants and toddlers is almost 24 hours. So are the seniors, the retired and the sick. INDOOR AIR POLLUTION is many times worse off than the outdoors, and this truth is bedroom outwards into the home. BEDROOMS are now said to be BADROOMS.

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