Fragrance-Free and Healthy Schools (updated)

Are you sick from sick schools?

How Healthy is Your SchoolTeachers and students suffer when school buildings are not healthy, sometimes even developing permanently disabling conditions as a result.

MCS/ES. Asthma. Autism. Learning disabilities. Behavior problems…

Unhealthy school buildings can present real barriers to access.

It shouldn’t be like that. You shouldn’t lose your health or your job or have your child’s health and future suffer because there’s something unhealthy in the air at school.

There are enough examples of the benefits of a healthy learning environment over an unhealthy one (from toxic chemicals, molds and wi-fi for example), and tools for how to make change happen.

Here are some resources (in no particular order):

New to the sick building scene is the issue of wi-fi in schools. This is causing similar problems for some teachers and students as mold and toxic chemicals have in the past (and continue to even now)

Former Microsoft Canada President agrees school Wifi is a Potential Health Hazard

“Frank Clegg, one of the biggest names in Canadian technology, announced today that he stands behind parents who object to wireless internet in schools.

“There are already children who can’t go to school because of headaches, nausea and heart problems from the wireless systems,” said Clegg who ran Microsoft Canada for 14 years and now leads a national organization called Citizens 4 Safe Technology (C4ST).” …

Problems with wi-fi in schools


Is This Your Child's World? Softcover

“This 627-page “how-to” book describes how typical allergies and environmental illness overlap, and details the typical and less-readily recognized clues in various infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, or adults… Dr. Rapp discusses hyperactivity, Ritalin, Tourette’s, learning problems, aggression, depression, fatigue, headaches, intestinal complaints, yeast problems, muscle aches, and recurrent infections.”

For this book and more great materials from Dr Rapp:

Healthy Schools Guidelines

“Approximately 3 per cent of Canadians have been diagnosed with environmental sensitivities (ES) or multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). This represents over 1 million Canadians, many of whom are students or staff of schools. Creating healthier environments for those with ES can benefit everyone in the building.

The Environmental Health Clinic has released a paper entitled Guidelines to Accommodate Students and Staff with Environmental Sensitivities: A Guide for Schools (pdf). The paper is co-written with Canadians for A Safe Learning Environment (CASLE).”

Click to access HealthySchoolsGuidelines.pdf

This 627-page “how-to” book describes how typical allergies and environmental illness overlap, and details the typical and less-readily recognized clues in various infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, or adults. It is one of the rare books on allergies that explain how to recognize, test and treat infants. Dr. Rapp discusses how it is sometimes possible to detect and help prevent future allergies by recognizing and eliminating the causes, at no cost, with a diet in 3 to 7 days. Dr. Rapp discusses hyperactivity, Ritalin, Tourette’s, learning problems, aggression, depression, fatigue, headaches, intestinal complaints, yeast problems, muscle aches, and recurrent infections. – See more at:

CASLE Healthy Schools Safe Buildings Scent Free Programs Improving Indoor Air Quality

Canadians for A Safe Learning Environment (CASLE) works to improve the condition of school buildings and the products and practices used in schools, so that school children and staffs have safe and healthy places to spend their days.

Hare Publishing Services: Environmental Sensitivities

For your convenience, we are including below links to a variety of documents on the subject of accommodating the needs of persons with environmental sensitivities. These documents address needs in schools, the workplace and hospitals. Also included are downloadable PDF files…

My personal opinion is that scent awareness programs are not as good as policies, and of course, any policy is only good if it is enforced.

“Make it clear that the policy applies to everyone”
(including visitors, etc).

Toronto District School Board Scented Products Awareness Program 2008

Scented products have an impact on everyone. For most people, perfumed, scented or fragrant products are enjoyed, but for those who have asthma, allergies or environmental sensitivities, exposure can result in illness, absence from work and even hospitalization.

Brochure (140K 5/16/2008)
Frequently Asked Questions (28K 5/16/2008)
List of scent and fragrance-free alternatives (23K 5/15/2008)

Some Other Fragrance-Free Places

Healthy Schools Network, Inc.

Canadian Lung Association

Accessibility, Human Rights and MCS/ES

For those of us who are housebound (as well as others who may be interested), I’ve posted free online learning resources we can use when the brain fog isn’t prohibitive… There are some great things available online these days.

For children,  home and un-schooling resources are also available.

More resources:

Back to School

The 2013 Back to School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies
“Last year, independent laboratory testing commissioned by CHEJ and the Empire State Consumer Project found toxic chemicals linked to asthma and birth defects widespread in children’s vinyl back-to-school supplies. Seventy-five percent of children’s “back-to-school” supplies tested in a laboratory had elevated levels of toxic phthalates, including popular Disney branded school supplies, such as vinyl lunchboxes, backpacks, 3-ring binders, raincoats, and rainboots. The levels of phthalates found in children’s school supplies would be illegal if these products were toys. Just like toys, school supplies are used by young children that are uniquely vulnerable to chemical exposure.”

The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) presentations/publications

“The Cleaning for Healthy Schools Toolkit is a free “do-it-yourself” tool on how to find and phase in the use of certified green cleaning products that are proven to work and to save money.”

Healthy Child Healthy World’s brand NEW eBook,

Easy Steps to Healthy Schools & Daycares.

Online ebook:
Low-rez download at this link:
Take Action
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Healthy Canadians
Use arts and crafts materials safely

“Just because you can buy arts and crafts materials in stores doesn’t mean they are free from health and safety hazards.”


“If you suffer headaches, dizzy spells, severe mood swings or feel ill when doing arts and crafts, leave the project for a while and get fresh air to see if you feel better. These symptoms could be warning signs that you need to take more steps to protect your health. If symptoms continue or return, get medical advice.”

(You might want to print off some of the diagnostic tools from the MCS/ES page here before your go to the doctor, as most aren’t trained in understanding symptoms from everyday chemical exposures)

Go Back to School With Safer Art Supplies

Here’s to healthier learning environments, wherever they may be!

9 responses to “Fragrance-Free and Healthy Schools (updated)

  1. TORONTO, Aug. 15, 2013
    ” the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario voted at its annual general meeting that student cell phones should be turned off and stored during school hours, unless a teacher gives permission.

    The vote was part of a series of motions requesting that radiation from cell phones and WiFi be recognized as a potential workplace hazard for teachers.”

  2. From Dr. Landrigan’s Back-to-School Q&A PDF @

    In August 2005, New York State adopted guidelines for using environmentally sensitive cleaning products in all elementary and secondary schools, both public and nonpublic. Schools were required to only purchase green cleaners from a state provided list of products
    starting in September 2006. All approved products were required to effectively clean surfaces while eliminating chemical residues and minimizing the impact of harmful chemicals on children and employee health. Note that antibacterial soaps and cleaners are not approved as environmentally-preferable under the New York State Guidelines. A complete list of products can be found at:

    “The Guide to Green Cleaning,” published by Healthy Schools Network, Inc.
    (, provides information on what to look for in “greener” cleaning products as well as a list of resources on where to find them.

    On artificial turf:

    Proven hazards to children’s health are three: (1) heat, (2) “turf burns” or abrasions, and (3) turf toe. In addition, recycled tires are known to contain a mix of chemicals.
    These chemicals include, among others, rubber chemicals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals – lead, zinc and cadmium. What is not yet known is the extent to which these chemicals may get in to the bodies of children playing on turf fields, their associated health risks, or the extent to which they may leach from the fields into the
    surrounding environment, soil and groundwater. More recently, traces of lead have been detected in the pigment of the plastic blades of some grass and in the carpet-style Astroturf…

    Studies show that the temperatures on artificial turf fields and in the area just above where children play can reach dangerously high levels that are significantly greater than temperatures of grass fields. When the air temperature is in the 80’s or 90’s, temperatures above the turf can exceed 150° F…

    Injuries resulting from normal play—such as from sliding or falling—
    cause larger than normal abrasions or “turf burns” on turf fields. Links between the rise in cases of MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant staph infection, to artificial turf fields raise additional questions about safety. In response to the
    increased threat of infections, some have suggested spraying synthetic fields with antimicrobials or even including them in the plastic components that make up the fields.
    Increasing children’s exposure to bacteria fighting chemicals, however, carries its own risk.


    Environmental Quality in California Child Care Activities:

    Study: Environmental Exposures in Child Care Facilities

    Study: Pest Management and Pesticide Use in Child Care Centers

    Integrated Pest Management Toolkit

    Workshops and Training for Child Care Providers

    Green Cleaning Toolkit

  4. Fragrances Fact Sheet

    The Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE)

    The Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE) is a multi-sectoral collaboration of organizations with expertise in issues related to children, health, public health and the environment. CPCHE partners have been working together since 2001 to protect children’s health from environmental pollutants and toxic chemicals by moving children’s environmental health issues into the minds of decision-makers, service-provider organizations, individual practitioners, parents and the public.

  5. Cleaning for Asthma-Safe Schools – Healthy Cleaning & Asthma-Safer Schools Guide and Video

    The Healthy Cleaning & Asthma-Safer Schools guide and video help school districts transition to healthier and asthma-safer cleaning products and practices. The Work-Related Asthma Prevention Program’s (WRAPP) CLASS project produced these two resources, primarily for California school districts’ facilities, maintenance, and operations managers. School health advocates can encourage their district to switch to asthma-safer cleaning using simple, manageable steps. WRAPP is housed in the Occupational Health Branch.

    The how-to guide explains how to switch to asthma-safer cleaning in simple, manageable steps. Ready-to-use tools and forms will help districts progress through each step, including publicizing safer cleaning successes within the school community. The guide also offers resources about green cleaning, asthma, and disinfection.

    Click to access CLASSguidelines.pdf

    From The California Department of Public Health

  6. Green cleaning for early childhood educators

    Watch the video to learn more about our green cleaning initiative in Vermont.

  7. Pingback: School Boards to Pump Peanut Fragrance Into Schools! | Seriously "Sensitive" to Pollution

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