There is increasing awareness that the quality of schools’ indoor environments is low in EU countries: ventilation is inadequate, and mould and damp are commonplace. For example, it has been estimated that 20% of schools in the Netherlands, 24 % in Finland and 41% in Spain have moisture problems. Children spend four to eight hours almost every day in these environments.
Poor indoo air quality is related to asthma morbidity levels and is associated with respiratory and mucosal symptoms.
Schools’ indoor environmental problems are examples of banal environmental threat. They are typically slow-moving and invisible, and their health effects are usually contested. The literature on such threats to children has mainly focused on physiological health. The empirical and theoretical understanding of psychosocial effects is more limited.
FinnChildAir aims to analyse children’s psychosocial well-being, lived experiences and meaning-making in indoor air problem schools in Finland. It focuses especially on children who have problems participating in class due to their symptoms.
In order to reach these goals, FinnChildAir employs both a top-down (group differences, associations) and a bottom-up perspective (lived experiences, meanings), quantitative and qualitative data and various analytical methods.
FinnChildAir will increase our understanding of the kinds of identities, group processes, and social practices that slow, ambivalent and health threatened changes in our built environment produce, how different children try to make sense of these changes, and how these complex processes influence their psychosocial well-being, perceived physiological health and behaviour. Given that we are living at a time of global environmental change, it is very important to fully understand these processes.
The project is funded by the Academy of Finland (2019-2024).
Partners and co-operators
National Institute for Health and Welfare, The Organizatio for Respiratory Health, The University of Helsinki, The University of Jyväskylä and Vanhempainliitto