WARWICK, RI — Environmental Consulting and Management (ECM)ls March 6 report shows unhealthy levels of carbon dioxide inside Warwick Veterans Jr. High , a finding City Councilman Richard Corley pointed out to his colleagues Monday night.
Nathan Cornell, co-chair of the Community Outreach Educational Committee (COEC) posted the document to the Let’s Save Warwick Schools Facebook page Friday, and passed it on to Corley, who was named to the COEC at Monday night’s Warwick City Council meeting. Corley reviewed the findings for his fellow councillors.
“This is certainly not a clean bill of health for the entire school,” Corley said, noting that mold testing had yet to be conducted on the interior there.
According to the document (posted at the end of this story) ECM’s test of air quality at the school at 2401 West Shore Road between Feb. 28 and March 2 checked temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide and dioxide, volatile organic compounds (VOC) hydrogen sulfide and oxygen. But only the carbon dioxide levels were discovered to be a threat to health inside the school, according to the report.
Inside the building carbon dioxide levels ranged from 403 and 4,130 parts per million (PPM). American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE) guidelines set a safe limit at less than 700 ppm above the outside levels of carbon dioxide (424 PPM) according to the report. Usually indoor carbon dioxide levels will range between 500 to 1,000 PPM, and the expsure limit set by OSHA is 5,000 PPM.
The highest levels of CO2 were found in classrooms with large numbers of active students where the windows were closed or slightly open, the report states. Those classrooms were located in the 900 Wing, D Wing and B Wing, according to the report.
Carbon dioxide can cause drowsiness, headaches, and loss of concentration at the high-range levels of the gas.
The report concludes the high carbon dioxide levels stem from human metabolism of large numbers of students with inadequate ventilation.Even in classrooms where the windows were left open, carbon dioxide levels were still above 1,000 PPM. The report noted new HVAC systems scheduled to be installed between summer 2017 and summer 2018 should address the issue with better indoor air circulation.
“It does show that there are some significant problems,” regarding air circulation at the school, Corley said. He said he agreed with replacing the school’s HVAC system.
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