Air Quality To Supports Cognitive Function & Learning 

Education for children and students is primarily accomplished indoors which makes their learning environment an important topic to examine. Recent research has shown the environment in which learning takes place can have varying effects on academic performance. Are these indoor learning environments supportive of their education? What are ways parents and educators can aid this process? 



Indoor Air Quality On Learning and Cognitive Function

Studies have shown poor indoor air quality is linked to many health effects ranging from impaired cognitive function to inflammation or irritation of other organs. This is important to consider as the learning environments in these classrooms and dorms can significantly impact the academic performance of students. However, classrooms can be crowded, poorly ventilated and experience overheating which all increase common indoor pollutants such as CO2. An increase in pollutants ultimately decreases air quality in learning environments. Poor air quality is linked to decreased academic performance by creating discomfort for students and have distracting implications. 


Common Pollutants Found In Schools, Classrooms and Dorms:

CO2

Regular classroom activities (ie. exhalation from students and teachers) can increase CO2 significantly to concerning levels if rooms are not properly ventilated or if they’re overheated. Increased levels of CO2 can cause headaches, nausea and lack of concentration for students. These factors all contribute to impaired cognitive function which further impede academic performance. 

Mould and Mildew 

Mould and mildew are commonly found in many dorms for college students due to the old age of buildings, lack of proper cleaning and lifestyle of students. Dorm rooms are especially small and poorly ventilated. Coupled with excessive moisture, these spaces provide excellent breeding grounds for mould growth. Mould poisoning can cause irritation of the nose, eyes, skin, but also more severe effects such as pneumonia and respiratory diseases. These health risks are a concern for both a student's overall health and academic success.


VOCs 

VOC’s released from off-gassing are extremely prevalent in many education facilities – specifically paint from walls, or from desks, chairs etc. Although VOCs are often not detectable by their smell or appearance, their presence on our health is certainly noticeable. Prolonged and excessive exposure results in many health effects ranging in severity. Check out our blog post to learn more about VOCs and off-gassing.


Particulate Matter (PM)

Particulate matter such as dust, pollen or smoke found in classrooms and dorms can all cause irritation to a student’s health. Particulate matter can accumulate from lack of ventilation, vacuuming or cooking within small enclosed spaces. This is particularly an issue in dorms where spaces are typically confined with low ventilation and can suffer from infrequent cleaning. Particulate matter can build up and cause allergies, irritation to nose, eyes and along with many more health effects. 


How To: Combat Health Affects And Support Cognitive Functions 

Increase Ventilation 

Open windows and doors whenever possible to reduce build up of CO2 or other pollutants. Increasing ventilation can also reduce VOCs and in general bring in better quality fresh outdoor air to support a students academic success. 

Thorough Cleaning 

Proper vacuuming and dusting of dorms or classroom can reduce accumulation of particulate matter (ie. dust). Wiping down surfaces frequently can also reduce the presence of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that can spread illness.

Eliminate Mould 

Untreated leaks, excessive moisture of low light spaces all make great conditions for mould growth. By being aware of these conditions and reducing their occurrence can mitigate mould growth. If mould is already present, be sure to remove it as soon as possible. 

Air Purifier 

An air purifier that provides active sanitization is one of the best and easiest ways to significantly improve your indoor quality especially in spaces where increasing ventilation is not easily accessible. Air purifiers can reduce allergens (ie. pollen, dust etc.), particulate matter, VOCs and mould spores – all which are contaminants of air quality. ClearZone’s HydroClear Technology not only provides comprehensive cleaning of the air, but also creates fresh new outdoor air. 


When thinking about a student's learning environment such as their dorms or their bedroom – making sure their air quality is not neglected is a great way to support their academic success. Proper ventilation and thorough cleaning habits can’t be substituted, but an air purifier can be a great way to improve air quality. 

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