Author(s): Mbazima, S.J., Moolla, R., and Joseph, J.S.

Source: International journal of environmental health research.

Abstract: This systematic review explores the release and health outcomes of exposure to chalk particles in classrooms. A literature search was conducted on Scopus, Google Scholar, and the Web of Science. Chalk particles contribute significantly to poor indoor air quality in classrooms. Higher concentrations of PM2.5 chalk particles were found in the front row (14.25μg/m3) and near the chalkboard (19.07 μg/m3). Inhalation and dermal are significant exposure routes; hence, teachers and learners are at risk of developing respiratory and skin disorders. Inhalation of chalk particles
correlates with reduced lung function in teachers and learners. The release and size of chalk particles depend on the activities, type of chalk sticks, and texture of the chalkboards. Wiping the chalkboard releases more chalk particles of smaller size (3.85–9.3 μm) than writing (10.57–92.91 μm). A shift from chalk sticks and chalkboards in classrooms is necessary to mitigate the associated health risks.

Keywords: Particulate matter; chalkboard; chalk sticks; erasable whiteboards; indoor air quality; spirometry