reducing the risk of chemical exposures in schools. - chemical spill kit
Introduce the storage and use of many chemicals in schools that may cause danger if they are not properly managed.
Hazardous chemicals can be found everywhere in a school: cleaning rooms, industrial technology classrooms, and science classrooms.
According to a recent paper (
Berkowitz, Hogg, Orr, Kaye, 2002)
The release of harmful substances in schools is an important public health issue.
IDPH has been involved in several health promotion programs over the past five years, which focus on laboratory and chemical-storage rooms. [
Without formal safety training as part of their education, teachers may not know how to properly store and use hazardous materials.
They may also not be aware of the laws on Chemical Hygiene plans and chemical inventories (
Flynn Science Limited, 2003).
All of these factors contribute to increasing the risk of accidents and possible exposure of people in the classroom to toxic chemicals.
There are several schools in Illinois.
In the past few years, related chemical accidents and accidents have posed a threat to health, and it is very expensive to clean up.
Most of these spills and exposures are related to elemental mercury, which is prone to evaporation at room temperature and highly toxic if inhaled (
Agency for the Prevention of toxic substances and diseases [ATSDR], 1999).
In particular, the following events occurred at the school in Illinois: * a student removed a large amount of mercury from the chemical storage room, spread it in corridors and lockers, and spilled in many classrooms.
The school area was closed for about two weeks and the cost of cleaning up was over $250,000.
* A student gets mercury from the science room and spills in the dormitory area of a boarding school.
The dormitory was not evacuated and closed until the cleaning was completed.
This paper describes how IDPH uses a comprehensive set of health promotion strategies to address chemical hazards in schools.
Methods IDPH held several projects and workshops to address the needs of Chemical Education and removal activities: 1.
Pilot projects to determine the degree of problems, 2.
Chemical collection in two different regions of the state, 3.
Assessment of mercury demand across the state, 4.
Six training workshops were held for statewide teachers.
This article focuses on each of these activities and introduces the Prevention of School-
Related chemical accidents and leaks
In August 1999, IDPH launched a pilot project to determine how chemicals can be used and stored in primary, secondary and high schools.
IDPH developed a potential
List of risks for unified assessment of chemicals
Storage and laboratory areas of the school.
The survey included 29 issues related to the location and use of chemicals, accessibility, physical safety and chemical safety.
IDPH provides the central Illinois school district with the opportunity to participate in this voluntary program.
The school district agreed that IDPH staff would check the chemical storage room in the area.
IDPHstaff staff are looking for practices of Mercury, hazardous chemicals and insecurity.
The school district agreed to allow IDPH personnel to visit all of its primary, secondary and high schools.
Primary schools are included in the project because several buildings have changed from one grade to another, and the old laboratory chemicals still exist.
There is also a regional science center that stores scientific supplies for kindergarten to sixth grade.
The Regional Science Center is located in a primary school.
The IDPH staff explained the project at the regional meeting attended by all the principals.
A registration form was provided to the principal to invite them to attend and to arrange time to evaluate their school chemistry storage room.
There are 26 primary schools in the district (grades K-4, 5-6)
Three schools (grades 7-8)
Three high schools (grades 9-12).
A total of 19 primary schools responded to the requirements of IDPH.
3 of them are not hazardous chemicals and there is no need for assessment.
All secondary and high schools volunteered to participate in this pilot project.
IDPH staff visited all participating schools from October 1999 to January 2000 (n = 22)
And completed a potential
Each item has a risk inventory.
Other comments and observations on storage rooms or practices that may cause safety problems are also recorded on the risk list.
In three high schools, IDPH observed several common storage problems: 1.
Large quantities (
[Up to 75 ml]mL])
Elemental mercury is being stored; 2.
Many chemicals are not used and are not needed; and 3.
The middle school stored a large number of unmarked unknown chemicals and found additional storage problems.
The most common thing is to store chemicals in the classroom where students can access them.
Other issues include letters or random chemical storage, which may result in incompatible chemicals approaching other chemicals and a lack--
Data Sheet for material safety (MSDSs)
Chemicals stored in the school. (
MSDSs has high requirements for chemicals used in the workplace. )
In primary school, department staff spoke with custodians and other personnel to determine if they knew of any laboratory chemicals stored.
Except for schools located in the regional science center, laboratory chemicals were not found in any primary school.
The Regional Science Center, a large integrated storage area for a primary school, is a converted dressing room that is not locked most of the time.
The IDPH staff saw several children passing by the door while checking the center. [
About 200 bottles of chemicals were found in lockers in the old metal gym.
Chemicals are arranged in alphabetical order, allowing incompatible chemicals to be stored next to each other (
Ammonia hydroxide was found next to hydrochloric acid)
Leading to potential dangers (See above).
Several bottles were corroded and some of the stuff was leaking onto the shelf.
The bottle containing iodine leaked, causing a large hole to be corroded through the shelf.
Individuals responsible for maintaining chemical inventories are not trained in the safe storage of laboratory chemicals.
In addition, these chemicals are no longer used by any school, as the science education kit purchased is now used by the graduating school.
The results of the experimental project confirm the need for chemicals
Moving activities at the Illinois school.
Many of the unused chemicals stored in the school, if spilled, may adversely affect health.
Chemicals found in pilot projects include water
Active metals, poisons, elemental mercury and mercury compounds.
Due to lack of funds, it is difficult for schools to dispose of chemicals properly.
Smaller school districts may find it almost impossible to hire environmental contractors to handle old or unused chemicals.
To address the need for removal of school chemicals, IDPH applied and received two grants from the United StatesS.
Environmental Protection Department (U. S. EPA)
Complete the chemical collection at Metropolitan East Street
The Louis area and Marion, Illinois.
These grants focus both on the removal of chemicals and on the education of teachers on appropriate chemical storage.
Metropolitan Hotel East
Louis collection was held on May 2001.
In the fall of 2000, public and private secondary schools from three countries were invited to attend.
A list of chemicals that are most likely to adversely affect health is listed in the fall mail.
Due to limited funding, the first collection only accepts chemicals that are known to cause serious adverse health effects.
A list of these chemicals can be found in the sidebar of page11.
Staff from IDPH and USA as part of the collection activityS.
EPAvisited visited 4 of the 16 participating schools.
During the visit, the chemical storage area was evaluated and suggestions were made for chemical treatment and storage.
Overall, the same storage conditions observed in the pilot program can be seen in these schools.
All schools have a large inventory of chemicals, including many that have never been used.
All schools store elemental mercury.
A school, about 300 ml.
Three of the four schools store chemicals alphabetically, putting incompatible chemicals together.
According to the chemical group, only one school uses the preferred method of storing chemicals. [
The second chemical collection took place on April 2002 in Marion, southern Illinois.
Because there are fewerdistricts in each county in this area, public and private secondary schools and high schools from 21 counties are invited to participate in the collection.
Except for radioactive substances, all chemicals are accepted at the time of collection.
A total of 12 schools participated.
Again, as part of the education effort, staff from IDPH and the United StatesS.
The EPA visited eight participating schools.
Schools in this part of the state seem to have older, wider chemical inventories than Test points and Metropolitan East sanctum schoolsLouisprojects.
One reason may be that the southern part of the state is often overlooked in previous School collections, and many schools do not have the opportunity to deal with old and redundant laboratory chemicals in a safe and cost-effective manner
In a school, there is an old metal cabinet filled with corrosive and degrading chemicals bottles in the auditorium under the seating area (See above).
The cabinet was severely corroded by exposure to chemicals.
All the chemicals in the cupboard were collected.
In both activities, approximately 270 and 430 kilograms of material were collected.
These materials include several chemicals that may have a serious adverse impact on health (Table 1).
Due to the prevalence of elemental mercury in schools visited by IDPHstaff, a statewide mercury demand assessment was conducted to better describe the problem.
IDPH obtained a list of all schools in Illinois from the Illinois Board of Education and selected a stratified random sample of 1,000 schools.
The sample consists of 250 high schools, 150 secondary schools, 100 private schools and primary schools.
The staff of IDPH tried to get answers to some important questions: 1.
Do schools in Illinois store mercury in large quantities? 2.
Will Mercury still be used in schools?
Equipment for scientific teaching? 3.
Do teachers and managers understand the risks and potential health effects of elemental mercury? 4.
Have there been mercury leaks in schools in the past?
If so, is it a big leak? 5.
How do schools usually clean up mercury leaks? 6.
What educational materials and information do schools think are most useful? 7.
Will the school handle mercury if there is a chance?
A total of 199 needs assessments (19. 9 percent)were returned.
Summary statistics for demand assessment are shown in Table 2.
The results of the demand assessment are very similar to those of the pilot project.
The needs assessment confirms to a large extent that a large amount of mercury and mercury is stored in many schools
Although many schools report being aware of the dangers and health effects of mercury, they cannot afford to properly handle mercury, and few have properly cleaned up spills of Mercury.
There are very few schools storing mercury hadspill kits for cleaning up.
The findings of all these projects in the training workshop indicate the need for coordinated efforts to educate teachers on the importance of chemical safety and removal of hazardous materials from schools.
IDPH cooperates with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA)
The Illinois Board of Education, the University of Illinois at Springfield and the Illinois Center for waste management and research have developed a promotion and collection plan.
Workshops were held in six locations in the state.
They focus on strategies to reduce or eliminate exposure to hazardous chemicals by teachers and students.
The IDPH staff discussed which chemicals used in the science class would put students and teachers at risk and shared information about the safe handling, storage, management and disposal of these chemicals
The National Board of Education informed teachers about the relevance of teaching safety to national learning standards.
The Illinois Center for waste management and research discussed the principles of green chemistry, which is "benign in design ".
"In other words, only non-toxic materials are used in the experiment;
Toxic materials should not be used or manufactured.
Some 300 participants participated in the workshop.
Participants included science teachers, art teachers, managers and guardians.
Illinois Environmental Protection Act (Section 22. 47)
Authorize the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to develop a plan to remove hazardou lure waste from the state's school laboratories and classrooms.
The agency is required to hire private contractors and to provide a moving service to every school in Illinois at least once every three years.
Until recently, however, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has never funded these activities.
New funds were provided in 2. 2 to start collecting money.
The Illinois EPA discussed the funding at each workshop and encouraged teachers to submit a list of chemicals they wanted to collect.
Schools participating in any of the six workshops are given priority in the chemistry collection.
In addition to a large number of chemicals from participating schools, the school's collection work is still in progress.
The IDPH staff encountered several problems in developing and implementing these projects.
One of the most difficult things is to put information about collections and workshops in the hands of the right teachers.
Although every school in each county received two announcements about the collection and all schools that did not respond were called, many teachers still reported that they had never heard of the collection.
If school administrators are not aware of the potential hazards of laboratory chemicals or do not understand the cost of disposal, managers may ignore these letters without passing them on to science teachers.
The staff of IDPH did find that schools with principals of former science teachers were more likely to participate in the free collection program.
In the course of these projects, IDPH staff learned that the National Board of Education used regional supervisors throughout the country as a communication mechanism.
The ministry found that the dissemination of information would be greatly improved if mailed to district heads and schools.
When developing school-related projects, it is important to determine whether the state has an existing infrastructure for distributing information to teachers.
If so, it is important to use this mechanism.
Another question is how to determine-
Given the limited fixed budget for the project ---
How many schools are invited to participate in the collection.
It is difficult to estimate the cost of disposing of perschol because the chemical conditions and quantities vary greatly from school to school.
IDPH learned that limiting the variety of chemicals has little impact on the overall cost.
In the first collection, chemicals were limited to those known to have a risk of bad health.
In the second collection, all chemicals were accepted except for radioactive substances, and the cost of collection was not much different.
IDPH staff think it's more expensive
It is effective to accept all chemicals instead of focusing on certain chemicals.
Finally, it is important to coordinate with all federal and state agencies involved in the issue.
Integrating resources can benefit more schools.
By working with other national institutions, IDPH is able to provide more comprehensive projects.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for collecting hazardous chemicals to prevent them from entering the environment.
As a result, the agency has funds to collect chemicals from schools.
The state Board of Education provides the tools to distribute information about the program and is able to carry out activities in accordance with the state's learning standards.
ATSDRand U. S.
EPA has played an important role in providing funding and support for these projects.
Conclusion unsafe chemical storage practices in schools put children and school personnel at risk.
The results of the interventions discussed in this paper suggest that an integrated approach involving education, training and disposal of old or hazardous chemicals opportunities can provide a safer school environment.
Due to the lack of education and the inability to properly dispose of hazardous materials, there is a risk of serious chemical leakage and exposure in many Illinois schools.
Many schools visited by IDPHstaff can improve storage security and reduce accidents and risks by following some key suggestions: 1.
Lock the chemical storage area and restrict the access of authorized personnel. 2.
Dispose of unused and surplus chemicals in an appropriate and timely manner. 3.
Do not store large amounts of elemental mercury in school labs. 4. If mercury-
With equipment equipped, a mercury overflow kit can be used to clean up any small spills. 5.
Do not store chemicals in alphabetical order.
On the contrary, it is stored by chemical group.
This policy helps keep incompatible chemicals away from each other. 6.
Maintain a complete inventory of chemicals. 7.
Safety data sheet with materials (MSDSs)
All chemicals that can be used for storage. 8.
Develop a Chemical Hygiene plan so that administrators, teachers and students know what to do if an accident occurs. 9.
When buying chemicals, buy only twoto three-year supply. 10.
Consider using green chemistry or micro-technologies that use
A tenth of the amount of chemicals used in traditional experiments.
The university should consider the curriculum reform of the teacher training program, including materials for safe storage and use of chemicals.
Training and Education in the field of chemical safety will help reduce the risk of school exposure to toxic chemicals.
Thanks: ATSDR provided IDPH with funds for conducting chemicalsin-
The school carries out activities through the 1043 cooperation agreement project.
Reference body for registration of toxic substances and diseases. (1999).
Toxicology Profile of Mercury. Atlanta, GA: U. S.
Department of Health and Human Services, 8-9. Berkowitz, Z. , Haugh, G. S. , Orr, M. F. , & Kaye, W. E. (2002).
Release of hazardous substances in schools: data from the hazardous substances emergency monitoring system. 1993-1998.
Journal of Environmental Health, 65 (2), 20-27.
Flynn Science Limited(2003).
Flinn directory of Chemistry and Biology Reference Manual directory.
Related articles: chemicals accepted in East Street
Louis collection May 2001 * B-thiamine * amine * arsenic compound * silver chloride * benzene-toluene-based chlorine * BR * CD compound * br-B ingot * formaldehyde * iodine * Lead compound * Mercury * Sebacoyl chloride * Wood metal Jennifer. Davis, M. P. H. , L. E. H. P. Kenny D. Runkle, M. A. , L. E. H. P.
Davis, environmental health specialist, Department of Public Health, Illinois, 525 62761 West Jefferson Street, Springfield, IL. E-
Email: jdavis1 @ idphstate. il. us.