Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Agassiz air quality investigated

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is expected to release a report sometime this month on the quality of air at the Louis Agassiz elementary school in JP, according to the Jamaica Plain Gazette.

There are questions as to whether there are above-normal levels of mold in the building, and if so, whether this is contributing to respiratory problems in students and teachers at the school. This school environmental inspection report from 2007-2008 indicates that air quality levels were all within the normal range.

Teachers, students, and city officials addressed the issue in a June hearing of the city council’s Committee on Education. At the time, City Councilor John Tobin speculated that poor air quality be part of the reason that only half of the schools seats are filled. School officials denied that assertion.

While looking into this issue, I found this interesting report from DPH that was released in April. It lists the asthma prevalence in every K-8 school, public or private, in the state from the 2006-2007 school year. In Agassiz (if I’m looking at the correct Agassiz school), 19% of the students had a known diagnosis of asthma. This was statistically higher than the state average (10.8%). Certainly, Agassiz was not alone in these high levels. Here are the other West Zone schools that were statistically higher than the state average (I may have missed some):
  • Young Achievers (*I know it’s no longer a West Zone school, but at the time, it was): 20.54%
  • Haley: 24.4%
  • Philbrick: 22.2%
  • Ellis: 17.7%
  • Higginson: 19.4%
  • Hale: 22.5%
Naturally, we don't know how these students developed asthma. I don't want to be seen as saying that these school facilities are sick. I'm just throwing out the numbers for your consideration. By the way, there were also a lot of West Zone schools that had rates lower than the state average. I'll let you dig through the report to find those.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These high asthma schools need a pest check, IMHO: