Ekspert advarer: Dårligt indeklima sætter sig på nervesystemet - Åbn

Expert warns: Bad indoor climate takes its toll on the nervous system

Danish TV2 on 17 Sep. 2018.

At 9/10 elementary schools, the occupational safety and health inspectorate's limit values ​​for the indoor climate are broken. It goes beyond the children's learning and well-being.

"They simply don't thrive, and it goes beyond their performance in schools"
Professor Geo Clausen, DTU.


The above results have been compiled by DTU. Geo Clausen says:

- In many Danish schools there is really poor ventilation, and this creates an accumulation of pollutants in the room. It can be things that the children themselves give off, such as CO2, but it can also be off-gassing from materials or whatever they may have brought with them. It therefore has an impact on their well-being, health and learning.

- In part, the children can get mucous membrane irritation on the eyes, nose and throat. At some point it can also start to produce effects on the central nervous system. This is what we experience as being tired, confused and having a headache. So it is not easy to concentrate on school work, says Geo Clausen.

Is it enough to just open a window so that there is some flow of air?

- Of course we have to do what we can to help find solutions to it ourselves. But we have investigated this and it is not enough. 25 students in a modest room and perhaps a double lesson, so it cannot be managed by opening a window in the middle of the lesson. More is needed, says Geo Clausen.

The rules are being broken

Are we actually talking about illegalities?

- The Norwegian Working Environment Authority's rules are in any case often broken. In Denmark, the children are not covered by the rules as they are in Sweden, but the teachers are. We often see that the Norwegian Working Environment Authority is often out to issue orders, says Geo Clausen.

He says that very high levels of CO2 have been measured in some of these classrooms, but it helps a lot that the children come out during recess and that the classrooms are ventilated.

Temporary barracks are still in use after 45 years

At Paarup Skole near Odense, the children in 3rd grade often have to go home with headaches.

I got headaches quite often, and then I was sometimes sent home because I had such a severe headache

Luna, 4th grade at Paarup School.


In 1973, three temporary barracks were built in front of the main entrance to the school because there was a lack of places for the school's students. It happened at many schools then - but today, 45 years later, the barracks are still standing at Paarup School. And the children in 3rd grade are still taught in the premises.

In summer it is unbearably hot in the classroom, and in winter it is freezing cold.

- Now we've been here for about 10 seconds, and we're already getting a little short of breath. And it's not to dramatize it, it's just how the conditions are, says Søren Smedegaard, father of three and chairman of the school board at Paarup Skole, as he shows TV 2 around the barracks.

Søren Smedegaard is trying to call out Odense Municipality and get a solution in place. And it is high time that both students and teachers become literally sick of the conditions.

- I got a headache quite often, and then I was sometimes sent home because I had such a severe headache, says Luna, who was in the 3rd grade last year.

The windows must not be opened

At another school, Samsøgades Skole in Aarhus, the windows are so old and unsafe that they must not be opened in the summer.

- And there is no ventilation either, so you can't ventilate either, says Mathias Sonne Bang, who is deputy chairman of the school's student council.

According to DTU, the two schools are not alone with their indoor climate problems. A study has shown too high CO2 concentrations in the classrooms of 90 percent of the schools examined.

The study also shows that students perform nine percent worse in tests when the indoor climate is bad.

- They simply don't learn what they should, says Professor Geo Clausen from DTU.

The full article can be read here.

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