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0-07: Staff training for health/safety emergencies
4-07: Staff trained for emergencies
4-11: Crisis response team and plans
4-24: Reports to the public health department
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American Association of Poison Control Centers
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)
Information for school custodians on air sampling, bioaerosols, infectious agents and industrial ventilation.
American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers
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6-09 - Exposure to toxic/poisonous substances in classrooms

Prohibit the use of toxic and poisonous substances as part of classroom or vocational education unless there is a clearly documented need that cannot be otherwise met and there are protocols and procedures in place to protect students and staff from toxin exposure. Communicate policies on acceptable and unacceptable substances to students, staff, and families.


Ingestion, inhalation, or other misuse of potentially toxic substances, whether intentional or unintentional, can be prevented. By adopting policies that reduce access, schools and districts can avoid harmful consequences, such as poisoning and burns.


Art, theater, shop, vocational courses, science courses, and other courses that require the use of toxic substances, such as paints, solvents, wood dust, and other chemicals, require ventilation systems that are found within the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) (14,15) guidelines. The ACGIH systems, which consider industrial workers' exposures at the "threshold limit value" (TLV), must be designed to meet the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standard of 1/10 of the TLV or lower (20-22). Inspections should be performed at least annually for expired chemicals and/or damaged containers, which should be removed and disposed of properly.

Ceramic kilns can be used if they are vented sufficiently and only a teacher or other trained adult is potentially exposed to the heat, kiln wash, etc. Ceramic glazes, either leaded or lead-free, and processes or chemicals requiring ventilation should not be used in elementary schools. For older students in classes such as Chemistry, substances should be properly stored and used with supervision. In areas in which students through age eight may have access, potentially toxic substances should be stored in a locked cabinet.

Poison Control and emergency assistance numbers should be clearly posted by all telephones. Poison control and emergency assistance numbers are 800-222-1222 and 911, respectively. Staff and students should be trained in proper response to poisonings and toxic exposures.


American Chemical Society, Committee on Chemical Safety. Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society; 1995.

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. Guidelines for the Assessment of Bioaerosols in the Indoor Environment. Cincinnati, Ohio; 1989.

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. School Workers Health and Safety Guide. 3rd Ed. CCOHS Publication #9760, 2001.

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality, 62-1989 (Including ANSI/ASHRAE Addendum 62a-1990). Atlanta, GA: The Society; 1990.

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Operation and maintenance management. In: 1999 ASHRAE Handbook: Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Applications. Atlanta, GA: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers; 1999:37.1-37.5.

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. ASHRAE Standard 62-1999. Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. Atlanta, GA: The Society; 1999.

Burgess JL, Kovalchick DF, Lymp JF, Kyes KB, Robertson WO. Health effects of hazardous materials exposures. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2000;38:542-543.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School health guidelines to prevent unintentional injuries and violence. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2001;50(RR-22):1-73.

Children's Environmental Health Network. Training Manual on Pediatric Environmental Health: Putting it Into Practice. Oakland, CA: Children's Environmental Health Network; 1999.

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