This survey and critical review of the literature on indoor air quality, ventilation and health symptoms in schools is a concise guide to the published literature on IAQ in schools, with an emphasis on Californian schools. Conclusions of the survey include the following: 1. The types of health symptoms reported in schools are very similar to those defined as sick building syndrome. Where complaint and noncomplaint buildings were compared, complaint buildings generally had higher rates of health symptoms. 2. Formaldehyde, total VOCs, CO, and microbiological contaminants are the most commonly measured air pollutants in schools. 3. The few scientific studies on causes of symptoms in complaint schools indicate that exposure to molds and allergens contributes to asthma, SBS, and other respiratory symptoms. 4. The major building-related problem identified is inadequate ventilation with outside air. Water damage to the building shell, leading to mold contamination, was the second most frequently reported problem. 5. The root cause of many of the ventilation and water-damage problems in the schools is inadequate and/or deferred maintenance of buildings and HVAC systems.
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