State of Environmental Health in Southwestern PA Schools

While many known health hazards are presented, this report also includes preventative strategies school districts can immediately take to protect students, teachers and staff from environmental harm. Healthy Schools PA offers free technical assistance and guidance to schools and should be considered a valuable partner and resource for finding incremental steps to improve a school district’s environmental health. We work with schools to assist with everything from environmental health education, curricula and policy and procedure reviews to lead to healthier school communities. We also encourage schools to participate in the “1,000 Hours a Year” program by applying for mini-grants to test for lead and radon in schools.

The investment in the health of any academic community—especially our children—will ultimately lead to decreased absenteeism, higher academic performance and increased productivity. This requires the involvement of a variety of sectors within the community, from school administrators, teachers and parent groups, to transportation providers, custodial workers and contractors. We implore federal and state elected officials along with agency leaders to prioritize funding for schools that invests in infrastructure and advances environmental health strategies. Together, we can help the region’s children thrive and learn to their fullest potential in a healthy, toxic-free learning environment.