Indoor air quality in our schools is a national problem–the air inside a typical school may be two to five times–and occasionally 100 times–more polluted than outdoor air. A General Accounting Office (GAO) study showed that an estimated 25 million students are attending schools with at least one environmental system in unsatisfactory condition. State legislators in Indiana, with the help of the National Energy Management Institute (NEMI) (Alexandria, VA) are taking steps to correct this problem are providing a model for other states to follow.

NEMI’s John Hamilton provided compelling testimony for the initiative on Feb. 13, 2002. This bill proposes a program of annual testing conducted by the State Health Department to identify and improve poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools to safeguard the health of all who occupy them. In addition, the bill, SC–407, establishes guidelines for air quality in our schools and allows concerned citizens request testing of school air quality by local health officials.

“There is no question that protecting the health of the children, hard working teachers, and staff that occupy our public school buildings is a fundamental responsibility of our state government,” said Hamilton. NEMI believes that superior IAQ in schools not only enhances the health of the occupants but it also creates a better atmosphere for learning which will result in improved student performance.

Jay Potesta, business manager of Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association (SMWIA) Local 20 (Indianapolis, IN) has also been active in the development of this legislation. “This bill is on the right track, with the number of school closings throughout Indiana it is time for the state to become involved,” said Potesta. NEMI understands the importance of SC-407 to the state and the residents of Indiana. Most importantly they were able to provide invaluable expertise, research and testimony as it relates to IAQ in schools.”