Asthma Awareness Month: Pulling the Trigger on Asthma in Schools

What if we were asked to nail down a list of what we are truly grateful for in our lives? Once we strip away the layers of things that we are really happy to have, we would eventually get to the layers of things that we absolutely need. It may seem like a cliche to say we are grateful for the air we breathe, yet for nearly 25 million Americans who suffer from asthma, 'the air we breathe' is something that they don't take for granted, that they wouldn't only remember to add towards the bottom of their list. Among children, asthma is the leading cause of school absences from a chronic illness, the third-ranking cause of hospitalization of children in the US. And it is on the rise. Asthma attacks can be brought on by several triggers, one of which is the chemical irritants in the products we use, lingering in the air we breathe. Some US school districts are taking a closer look at school supplies, and taking aim at asthma triggers.

In our EcoSmart blog, we shine a searchlight fairly regularly on the chemical irritants commonly found in schools: cleaning products, paints, adhesives, air fresheners, fragrance, art supplies and, of course, dry-erase markers. Daily we answer calls from teachers, school staff, and parents looking for a truly non-toxic alternative to smelly dry-erase markers that set off reactions like headaches, brain fog, dizziness... and asthma attacks. If any one school could take all the calls that we take and hear all the personal stories we hear, the decision to switch to a non-toxic dry-erase marker would be simple. No-brainer style of simple.

?????May is the National Asthma and Allergy Awareness month! Here are some fast facts and online resources to help bring greater awareness and education to your school about asthma and the need to take asthma triggers, such as chemical irritants, out of our schools.

Fast Facts About Asthma

Did you know?

  • Asthma is the most common chronic condition among children, the leading cause of school absences from a chronic illness.
  • Every day in the US 36,000 kids miss school due to asthma.
  • Asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization for children, causing more hospitalizations than any other childhood disease.
  • Children with asthma spend nearly 8 million days per year restricted to bed.
  • Asthma and allergies strike 1 out of 5 people in the US.
  • The prevalence of asthma has been increasing since the early 1980s across all age, sex and racial groups.
  • The annual cost of asthma is estimated to be nearly $18 billion.
  • There is no cure for asthma, but asthma can be managed with proper prevention and treatment.

Stats from Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.


This article has focused on the chemical irritants in school supplies that can trigger asthma. For other information about chemical irritants as a trigger to asthma, as well as an Asthma Action Plan template, visit the EPA's pageOther common asthma triggers include second hand smoke, dust mites, common cold viruses, molds, cockroaches and pests, pets (and their dander), nitrogen dioxide, outdoor air pollution, wood smoke, running, and getting excited.

About EcoSmart's Markers

EcoSmart Products distributes non-toxic dry-erase markers that are xylene and toluene-free. They are proven effective in alleviating people with chemical sensitivities from their symptoms to regular dry-erase markers, such as headaches, dizziness, brain fog, skin irritations and breathing difficulties. EcoSmart's markers are also made of recycled aluminum and are refillable, saving money and waste associated with regular, disposable markers.

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