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Focus on Schools

Focus on Schools webpage is a snapshot of projects and resources CHEJ offers on its website that pertains to schools and children’s environmental health.  You will also find this information on CHEJ’s campaign web pages.

Horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” is a relatively new method of drilling that allows oil and gas companies to access natural gas from tight shale formations deep below ground. It is a highly controversial form of natural gas extraction that poses significant risk to local water, air, and soil quality. The current shale gas rush has brought the fracking process to a number of states, and in the next decade drilling activity is expected to increase significantly. Local communities especially children may be negatively affected by such development. Fracking near places where children learn, live, play, or pray can have adverse effects on their health.

Learn about the risks of fracking in your community: Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU): Information on Natural Gas Extraction and Hydraulic Fracturing fact sheet

To find out more about how you can take action, visit CHEJ’s No Fracking Campaign webpage.

Contact CHEJ for additional information, resources, or strategic/ organizing assistance.

Green Flag Schools-The Green Flag Schools Program for Environmental Leadership provides a framework for students to become environmental leaders and contribute to positive change in their communities.

Check out Award Winning Video from Georgia – young people will make the difference.

Was Your School Built Before 1980?

If so, it may have PCBs, a dangerous chemical, in the air or on surfaces.

How can PCBs affect your health? PCB-contaminated oil can leak onto surfaces, such as student’s desks, or evaporate into the air causing poor indoor air quality. If students or school personnel are exposed to PCBs, it can pose health effects. Short-term exposure to PCBs can irritate and burn the eyes, lungs, nose, and throat. Long-term exposure may have serious effects on the liver, immune system, endocrine system, reproductive system, and thyroid hormone levels, which could affect normal growth and development such as IQ and behavior. PCBs also increases the risk of cancer.

To find out more about how you can take action, visit CHEJ’s PCBs in Schools webpage.

EPA Website PCBs in Schools Research – Questions and Answers

Is Your New School Being Built Near Toxic Land or Air Emissions?

With very few local laws and no federal law to prevent local authorities from building new schools on contaminated land, recent school budget cuts mixed with time limited large grants from the federal government has created an atmosphere of short sighted and quick fixes by school districts of building on toxic land. CHEJ has become the leading national organization advocating for clean and safe places for schools through grassroots organizing, innovative research, and national advocacy. In October 2011, EPA released its school siting guidelines. The EPA was mandated to create a voluntary guidance document to be used by decision makers to evaluate environmental factors that may impact locating a school in a healthy environment.

CHEJ added to that guidance to close important loopholes. CHEJ’s version of school siting guidelines: Safe School Siting Tool Kit

Another resource that you can use to talk about school siting was developed by several groups in Georgia. This presentation titled Old School, New School is an introduction to utilizing the EPA School Siting Guidelines and can be adapted to fit you needs as a parent, school authority or community group. You should can check it out and also visit their site for additional information.

Greening Schools in New York State

PVC-Free Products- A resource of safe, cost-effective alternatives to PVC for families and schools. Including the Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies

PVC-Free Schools- The PVC-Free schools campaign encourages schools to ditch the poison plastic in favor of safer alternatives

PVC-Free University- Toolkit to empower university students with information, resources, and strategies to launch and implement a winning PVC-free schools campaign on campus.

This Vinyl School- Learn about PVC in schools and safe affordable alternatives in this interactive application.