In July 2002, a group of concerned citizens, parents, educators environmentalists and health professionals from across Connecticut formed a grassroots organization called "The Canary Committee". They referred to themselves as the "The Canary Committee" because their core members had suffered from the debilitating health effects caused by sick schools. Among their ranks were parents of sick children whose illness had been directly linked to environmental conditions in their schools. A number of those "canaries" were former teachers who are now disabled and unable to work due to health issues triggered by sick schools when they were once empoyed. Some of these educators were still teaching but had to take many prescription medications in order to function in the unhealthy classrooms to which they were assigned.
The Canary Committee was founded on the belief that far too often the discovery and remediation of indoor pollution was not occurring until after the health of school occupants was already harmed.
Such an approach that treats children and school staff as though they were "canaries in a coal mine" was the catalyst for launching a legislative campaign to enact a law that would better safeguard school occupants from potential environmental hazards such as mold, lead, asbestos, radon and pesticides.
Lead by their mascot, Kirby the Canary, and joined by state coalition partners such as Toxics Action Center, the Ecological Health Association, CT Parent/Teacher Association and the CT Education Association, the Canary Committee successfully lobbied for passage of "An Act Concerning Indoor Air Quality In Schools".
In 2004, the Canary Committee was renamed the Connecticut Foundation for Environmentally Safe Schools. (See Mission)
Connecticut Foundation for Environmentally Safe Schools© 2003-2012.
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