While there are many known health hazards in the school environment, there are also a number of preventative strategies school districts can take to protect students, teachers and staff from environmental harm. Together, we can help the region’s children thrive and learn to their fullest potential in a healthy, toxic-free learning environment.
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. There are many things a school district can do to create a healthy learning environment. 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. Explore our resources to learn more about our research and data-driven policy and advocacy.
In order to gain a better understanding of environmental health hazards facing the more than 330,000 students enrolled in public school districts across Southwestern Pennsylvania, Healthy Schools PA—a program of Women for a Healthy Environment—embarked on an extensive information gathering mission. This initiative entailed sending Right-to-Know requests to every public school district located in southwestern Pennsylvania’s 10-county region, and then scouring the information for detailed environmental data. The result is The State of Environmental Health in Southwestern Pennsylvania Schools, a first-of-its-kind report examining 13 specific environmental-related issues.
This mapping initiative uses publicly available data to identify potential environmental hazards located within a one-mile radius of a public school building in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region. This ten-county region includes: over 336,000 children attending public schools, 674 public school buildings, 128 school districts and 7,040 square miles. This initiative mapped the following potential environmental hazards: air emission sources, gas wells (unconventional also known as Marcellus wells, as well as compressor stations), mining operations and active rail lines. This first phase reviewed public schools, charter schools and technical schools. Data was collected from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (gas wells, mining hazards), the PAMAP program (rail lines) and the Environmental Protection Agency (air emission sources).
Every child should have the opportunity to learn and develop in an environment that is safe, healthy and toxic-free. Our goal is to end purchasing of RoundUp and to empower communities, schools, and childcare centers to properly practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Download the pesticide action toolkit and learn more about our vision for the Good Riddance, RoundUp campaign and why you should take the pledge.