At the start of this school year, parents in the community first learned that the board had installed a high-tech air cleaning system in all six of its schools– a system that is both unproven and potentially unsafe, as theLoop has been reporting.
“I started to email the Board in September,” says Danielle Peterson-Robles, parent of two school-age children, “that was when I learned that the technology, called NPBI, short for Needlepoint Bipolar Ionizers, actually doesn’t work, according to most experts in the field.”
In fact, what Danielle and dozens of other concerned parents have found are some independent studies that show NPBI does not remove virus particles and that it can form new unwanted particles containing potentially harmful byproducts, especially dangerous for young children. Their research can be found in a recent editorial.
The parents have started a website and an advocacy campaign to inform other residents and voters about alternative, proven ventilation solutions. Currently the U.S. Education Department, New York State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency and others do not recommend ionizing devices.
It is estimated that installing the NPBI technology and related expenses may have cost the district more than $150,000, yet the overwhelming scientific consensus is that other, less expensive, proven technologies, such as portable HEPA filters or MERV 13+ filters, actually can do the job with no health and safety risks.
Many schools in neighboring districts including Scarsdale, Pelham, Harrison and Rye Neck, have avoided unproven NPBI technology and have installed recommended portable HEPA cleaners in classrooms or upgraded ventilation to MERV 13+ filters or 100% outside air intake.
At an upcoming November 16th school board meeting, hundreds of parents in Mamaroneck and Larchmont are hoping to persuade their board to avoid any possible risks by turning off the ionizing devices and installing recommended alternatives.
For more information about the NPBI air cleaning technology and alternatives, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mufsdairquality.com
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.