With growing concerns about MRSA and other serious or potentially life-threatening diseases, some school administrators may view dust-related issues with less importance. However, dust, most of which is tracked into a school facility from the outside, can cause many more problems — including health-related issues — than some school administrators may realize.
• It is estimated that about 10 percent of all computer failures are the result of indoor dust.
• Approximately 20 percent of the students in a typical school facility are allergic to some particulates found in dust.
• Heating and air conditioning systems can lose as much as 20 percent of their efficiency if just a tenth of an inch of dust covers filters or core mechanicals.
• It is estimated that it can cost as much as $500 to remove one lb. of dust, which increases cleaning and maintenance costs considerably.
• People working in dusty indoor environments have a greater risk of lung cancer, heart attacks, asthma, respiratory problems, and even depression compared to those who work in cleaner, healthier indoor environments.
• It is estimated that as much as 24 lbs. of dust can be tracked into a facility by just 1,000 people over the course of a 20-day period.
For these and other reasons, incorporating strategies to help reduce dust accumulation in school facilities is a key concern for all school administrators.
Fortunately, many of these dust-related problems can be corrected through the effective use of matting systems, which have long been overlooked for their full value in keeping dust out and maintaining a clean and healthy environment. In fact, because they are so effective, matting systems are now widely recognized as a key component in a green cleaning system, even contributing to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification points.
Dust and High-Performance Floor Mats
Typically, a school facility uses mats to help prevent water and some grit from being tracked into the building — especially in gym areas where moisture can damage wood floors. They are also used for safety reasons, especially during adverse weather conditions. These mats provide a non-stick surface, which helps reduce the likelihood of student falls during rain, snow, or ice.
However, these uses, although valuable, just touch the surface of the benefits that can be derived from a high-performance matting system. These systems usually combine three different types of mats that are placed inside a facility, in interior lobbies as well as outside. Together, the three mats work as a system, each playing a specific role in effectively removing as much as 80 percent of the pollutants from shoe bottoms, which prevents them from soiling a facility.
These floor mats include at least five feet each of the following mats.
• Scraper Mats: Appropriately named, these mats are designed to scrape the bulk of grit, soil, and contaminants off of shoes. Debris is trapped beneath the surface of the mat. These mats often have a rubber base and polyethylene blades on a rubber base, and are designed with a recessed grating or by-level construction system. Essentially, a deep well which holds dirt and moisture between cleanings exists under the surface of the mat.
• Absorption Mats: This, the second in the three-part matting system, is also known as a scraper/wiper mat. Located just inside the entry or in the vestibule area if the facility has a double door entry, these mats perform both a scraping action and a moisture-wicking (absorption) action. They are made of nylon, or combinations of nylon and heavily textured piles of polypropylene, and are the “second line of defense,” removing soil, dust, moisture, and grit not captured by the outdoor scraper.
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