click above to browse
through the current issue





Want to see your child's
work in print? The winner
will receive a �25 book voucher. Email: cluedup@edsup.co.uk

TOXIC CLASSROOMS

“Children are more likely than adults to be exposed to persistent organic pollutants by consuming dust and are more susceptible to the effects of such chemicals”


The high chemical levels in classroom fuel fears of health risks to children, reports the Times Educational Supplement (TES).

Over the last 20 years, classrooms have become equipped with more and more high-tech gadgets, computers and whiteboards. Scientists believe that this has caused a surge in levels of chemicals that are collected in classroom dust. Researchers from the University of Birmingham have recently undertaken studies into the levels and effects of these chemicals which are “organic pollutants” and do not degrade in the environment.

High-tech gadgets, computers and whiteboards are thought to have caused a surge in levels of chemicals

Samples of dust taken from classrooms in nursery and primary schools in the West Midlands contained high concentrations of four pollutants which are thought to build up in human tissue.

These chemical pollutants, when found in significant quantities, are known to have potential effects on hormone systems, the immune system and key body functions.


The Daily Mail highlighted the findings of the research. For example, the dust contained levels of the chemical HBCD, commonly used in wall insulation, electronics and fabric coating, that were significantly higher than samples taken from offices and homes.

Levels of the chemical TBBP-A, used in making electronic equipment flame retardant, were similar to the levels in dust from homes, but higher than samples from cars and offices.

Presenting their findings at the Dioxin Conference recently, Emma Goosey, one of the report’s co-authors said: “We already know that children are more likely than adults to be exposed to persistent organic pollutants by consuming dust. We also know that they are more susceptible to the effects of such chemicals.”

Her colleague and co-author, Dr Stuart Harrad called for more studies to be done on the levels and effects of these pollutants and the health implications of their findings: “Our initial work suggests that exposure in classrooms is within safe levels for some chemicals, but may not be for other widely used chemicals, and more work is needed to assess how exposure from various sources accumulates - particularly as these chemicals remain within the body.”

Useful links: The report can be found at: www.gees.bham.ac.uk