Is bad air in school affecting your
brain health?

The White House has reported that Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is our #1 Public Health Emergency

What’s the air quality like in school?

  • Americans spend 90% of their time indoors on average.

  • The EPA reports that over 80% of buildings have air quality problems

  • Colleges and universities have been resistant to test their air quality.

  • According to the latest medical research, bad air is bad for your immune system and bad for your brain health.

  • 60% of college students report struggling with at least one mental health condition.

We’re on a mission to find out.

Help us unravel the mystery of bad air in college.  Become a Bad Air Buster by contributing your story to our the Bad Air in School podcast.  Start by filling out this questionnaire.

Bad air’s effect on the brain

  • Irritablity

  • Distractability

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Decreased Word Finding

  • Decreased assimilation of new knowledge

  • Impaired Memory

Bad air’s effect on the body

  • Body aches

  • Shortness of breath

  • Skin sensitivity

  • Pins and needles tingling

  • Difficulty regulating temperature

  • Digestive issues

  • Sinus congestion

  • Static shocks

  • Frequent urination

  • Numbness

Meet your bad air bullies

Air is cleanest in nature. That’s because nature ionizes air. Ionized air causes harmful particulates in air to clump together and fall to the ground.  Indoors, air is not ionized. So proper filtration, ventilation, and building hygiene are essential to ridding air of toxins from wild fire smoke, microbes, and chemicals. Otherwise, they become bullies of the brain, impacting your cognitive and emotional health.

Chemicals (Asbestos)

  • Chemicals give off Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that trigger a response in your innate immune system.

  • Chemicals are also found in the cavities of walls, which can accumulate moisture and microbial growth.


  • Microbes that thrive indoors like Actinomycetes, Endotoxin-producing Gram Negative Bacteria, and various molds produce toxins that are unrecognizable to the immune systems of ~1 out of 4 people.

  • Microbes also produce microbial Volatile Organic Compounds, which create the musty odor you might smell in the gym locker room or an old classroom. These smells can cause a reaction within 10 minutes, causing headaches, challenges concentrating, or even a panic attack.

Wildfire Smoke & Dust

  • When there's wildfire smoke, it makes sense to stay inside... if there's effective air filtration and ventilation.  If there's poor filtration and ventilation, Indoor Air Quality can become much worse than outdoor air quality, as Particulate Matter and other dangerous toxins accumulate inside.

  • Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in smoke and dust can have destructive effects on your lungs. Meanwhile, burning trees don't just create smoke and nitrogen dioxide. Because trees absorb chemicals from factories nearby, wildfires can put dangerous chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde and nitrogen cyanide into the air.

Where to find the bullies

HVAC Ductwork

  • Microbes/Mold

  • Dust/Chemicals

Water Damaged Buildings

  • Microbes/Molds

Buildings with poor air filtration/ventilation

  • Dust/Chemicals

  • Wildfire Smoke

  • Microbes/Mold

Does your school have bad air?

Take control of your brain health and find out!  Test your school, your dorm, or anywhere you spend a lot of time and are suspicious of the Indoor Air Quality. The cheapest test tests for dangerous molds. Tests for Actinomycetes and Gram Negative Bacteria (endotoxins) are most helpful since they impact the greatest number of people struggling with chronic inflammation.

Become a Bad Air Buster

Test your school/dorm. Learn as we learn. Contribute your story dealing with moldy dorms and classrooms and its impact on your mental and physical health. Be part of the change helping 60% of college students who report suffering from at least one mental health condition.

Keep up with the latest

Get updates as the story unfolds.  If you’re interested in interviewing, fill out a short questionnaire found here.

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We need help with social media!

If you become a Bad Air Buster and share your story with us, let us know if you’d like to volunteer as a social media ace on our team.  Thanks!

SmartyScholars, Inc. d/b/a Brilliant Brain Institute is a Maryland nonprofit corporation operating through a fiscal sponsorship with Players Philanthropy Fund, a Maryland charitable trust recognized by IRS as a tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Federal Tax ID: 27-6601178, Contributions to Brilliant Brain Institute are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

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