EPA Issues Guide to School Renovations


The federal government has released a new guide on school building renovations, as the projects often involve cleanup of harmful materials, such as asbestos and lead.

The 24-page booklet, “Sensible Guide to Healthier School Renovations,” was published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thursday (Jan. 28).

School renovations have the potential to increase children’s exposure to harmful contaminants which can lead to serious health risks, EPA said. Addressing the unique challenges and opportunities of school renovations can help schools save money and support student performance.

Schools Need Work

Recent surveys report that 53 percent of public schools need to spend money on repairs, renovations, and modernization—at an estimated cost of $197 billion, according to the EPA.

The agency said it created this guide in response to interest from parents, schools and public health advocates for a one-stop, easy to understand document that outlined key environmental health considerations when renovating schools.

“Our children are more sensitive than adults to environmental contaminants because their respiratory systems are not fully developed, and they are more active,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld. “It is critical for schools to understand potential hazards when undertaking renovation projects.”

Guide Details

The guide offers a review of risks, regulations and resources available for schools to use during school renovations and includes strategies for reducing exposure to environmental contaminants.

Lead-based paint and the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule are discussed in the document.

The guide also includes a robust reference section with links to more in-depth guidance, EPA notes.

The guide was released during the Children’s Environmental Health Symposium in San Diego. The event focuses on environmental health issues in the border region, how prenatal and childhood exposures can impact children’s health and development and what participants can do to address or mitigate risks.


Tagged categories: Asbestos; Contractors; Indoor air quality; Lead; Lead paint abatement; Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP); Maintenance + Renovation; North America; Rehabilitation/Repair; Renovation; Schools

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