As a teacher, there will be many instances that you will be nursing a headache that seems to last a lifetime. Screaming children, persistent work loads and staring at non-sensical handwriting that can only be described as mythical enscription are just some of the reasons you will be wanting to sit in dark room and down a couple of aspirins most days. But what if there was a way to cut out some of the causes of headaches? This article will be discussing the potential roots of classroom headaches, where to find them and how to stop them.
VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs, are commonly found in several household products, along with building materials and furnishing such as common wood products used to make noticeboards. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, being exposed to a high level of these chemicals can cause sensory irritation symptoms of the eyes, skin, throat and nose, along with nausea and dizziness; all of which have the potential to impact teaching and learning. These symptoms can also bring on headaches for both teachers and children which decreases the level of functionality and academic development in the classroom.
Although studies on safe levels of VOC air pollution are yet to be proven, it is still advisable to limit exposure to these chemical compounds where possible. People are at greater risk of contracting VOCs’ symptoms if they have asthma; young children are also at a higher risk, as told by the Department of Health in Minnesota, however these symptoms can still be apparent to anyone.
The Effects of VOC’s in School
The government, in accordance to volatile organic compounds, enforce that it is an offense to exceed the legislated levels of VOC’s in materials used to create paints, varnishes and refinishing. The legislations means that concentration of these compounds allowed in association to decorative, functional and protective purposes can be monitored. International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 11890-2:2006 (revised in 2013) are the series of the standards related to these types of products, with 0.30 – 7.99% VOC classed as ‘low content’ which is the regulated amount allowed in the EU. Products that are considered as ‘VOC free’ have a maximum trace of 0.01%. Air Quality Sciences found there is a growing body of evidence in conjunction with teacher productivity and student learning with air quality as well as health; the World Health Organisation recommend keeping exposure to below 120µg/m3 (0.10 parts per million), although others recommend that level to be lower than 0.027ppm. This article written by the Green Guard discusses further information on indoor air quality and how to reform and review your own school, click here to read on.
Although we cannot fully escape VOC’s as they are in the air we breathe, both indoors and out, there are ways in which we can minimalise exposure in indoor environments; such as keeping the air well ventilated and filtered with plants, along with using materials which do not hold any VOC properties or formaldehydes. A study ran by the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan proved that the level of VOC’s were higher in the 144 classrooms tested, from 37 different schools renovated within the last 15 years (from 2017), than there were outside. You can help prevent the effects of volatile organic compounds by using products and academic equipment that has been tested and trialled to be VOC friendly or VOC safe.
Whilst deciding on the best way to equip or refurbish a classroom, in a stylish yet environmentally friendly way – all the while being tentative with a budget, know Sundeala boards fit the criteria.
By choosing to fit your classrooms with Sundeala noticeboards, this option provides you with a virtually maintenance free, competitively priced, quality board. The boards are made out of 100% recycled paper. For the colourful options, a natural pigmentation is added to the manufacturing process to create beautiful, bright and beneficial notice boards that are a great addition to any school or academic learning centre. As well as being environmentally friendly from a material aspect, Sundeala noticeboards are non-detrimental to school IAQ, – in comparison to a standard noticeboard, there are low VOCs or formaldehydes. There is also the option of a fire retardant version standard which complies with BS EN 13823:2002 & BS EN 11925-2 under criteria for Class B.
If you’d like reform your school and include VOC friendly products within your classrooms, visit our Sundeala Products page on our TeacherBoards website to find out more information on keeping your school safe and headache free.