So, I don't know if I have mentioned that I am teaching Kindergarten this year. My school has four kindergarten classrooms, and they retrofitted another classroom to be a fifth class. We started the year with four kindergartens, but our numbers are high enough that they are going to open the fifth classroom and reorganize the kids.
Today over lunch, the Kindergarten teachers met in the retrofitted room to see what we thought that room might still be missing in advance of the hiring of the new teacher for that class.
I walked in, and I immediately felt assaulted by VOCs off gassing from the new furniture and built ins. It was awful. Most other people didn't seem to notice very much, but one teacher who happened to drop by made a joke about getting high in the kindergarten room.
Within 15 minutes of being in the room, I could not stop coughing. The VP who was in the meeting with us, suggested that we open the windows, but I know from experience that is not going to do it. Those things are going to be off gassing for months. It's not even my classroom, but I am going to pick up some air sponges at the hardware store over the weekend to put in there and try to absorb some of the fumes. When I get a new car, I use air sponges to get rid of the "new car smell" because I am also sensitive to that.
I was amazed at how bad the room was. Because Ontario has expanded to full day kindergarten over the past 5 years there have been a lot classrooms retrofitted into Kindergartens. I would have thought they would have used low VOC stains to prevent this sort of thing, but apparently not. I wonder how much of an issue this has been?
As my school's Health and Safety contact person, I think I am going to look into getting some air quality testing in that room.