Study measures indoor air quality in two Salt Lake City high schools

Study measures indoor air quality in two Salt Lake City high schools

A 2018 study conducted by the Salt Lake County Health Department backs something UPHE has been advocating for – air purifiers in local schools. Kids spend around 900 hours a year in school. It is crucial for their health and for their success that they are breathing the cleanest possible air during the school day. 

We know that air pollution causes loss of brain mass in key areas that control memory and is associated with almost the full range of clinical neurologic disorders throughout the age spectrum, including lower intelligence, diminished motor function, attention deficit and behavioral problems. Exposure to air pollution is a hindrance to children’s education as well as general health. 

The 2018 study compared air pollution levels inside the school and outside at both West High and East High in Salt Lake. Researchers found that although air pollution outside was higher on the west side, air purifiers kept indoor air quality at similar levels to that of East High. This demonstrates the importance of air purifiers not only from a health standpoint, but from an environmental justice standpoint as well. Lower income areas are often exposed to higher levels of pollution, therefore have a higher risk of the health consequences that come with poor air quality.

The study also showed a lag time between spikes in pollution outside and inside. It took around an hour for higher air pollution activity to show up on the indoor monitors. Air purifiers are an absolute necessity in schools and classrooms, especially on the west side as polluters like the Inland Port move in and increase toxic emissions during the school day. 

Read more about the study here.

Read UPHE’s take on air purifiers in schools here.

For a quick and inexpensive alternative to air purifiers, try this trick with a box fan and a MERV16 air filter.