Video Contest Announced To Raise Awareness For Fragrance-Free Schools in Pennsylvania

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A video contest open to all Pennsylvania junior and senior high school students (grades 7-12) to raise awareness for Fragrance-Free schools was announced today by Women for a Healthy Environment. The goal of the contest is to get more students, teachers, administrators and parents aware about the about the harmful health effects that fragranced products can have on individuals in our schools.

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With the generous support of the Highmark Foundation, we are excited to sponsor this free and fun contest. We want students to promote their video via social media and help us to create a loud social echo on this very important health issue.

A video contest open to all Pennsylvania junior and senior high school students (grades 7-12) to raise awareness for Fragrance-Free schools was announced today by Women for a Healthy Environment. The goal of the contest is to get more students, teachers, administrators and parents aware about the harmful health effects that fragranced products can have on individuals in our schools.

The contest which runs through Monday, May 11, 2015, will award cash prizes to the top three schools that produce a creative and thought-provoking video about harmful fragrances in schools. Winners will be announced on Fragrance-Free day on May 21, 2015. Complete contest details and rules can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/FragranceFreeSchools.

“With the generous support of the Highmark Foundation, we are excited to sponsor this free and fun contest as a way for students to both learn about the dangers of certain fragrances and then in turn educate their fellow students, as well as faculty and administrators about the need for Fragrance-Free zones in our schools,” said Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, executive director, Women for a Healthy Environment. “We believe that if students, parents and school professionals understood the dangers that manufactured fragrances found in personal care or cleaning products can cause to individuals, than they would abstain from using them in school environments.”

Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges selected by Women for a Healthy Environment and schools will be able to vote for their favorite entries on Facebook.

“Creating a video is just one step for this contest,” added Naccarati-Chapkis.” We want students to promote their video via social media and help us to create a loud social echo on this very important, but little known health issue facing our schools.”

A Growing Problem
More than 53 million children and 6 million adults in America spend significant amounts of time in more than 120,000 school buildings across the country. School buildings can contain harmful contaminants and chemicals that impede learning and overall health. Studies have shown that certain cleaning products used in the school setting, such as industrial-strength cleaning products and room deodorizers/air fresheners, contain chemicals identified as potential asthmagens (triggers of asthma symptoms), allergens, pre-carcinogens and air contaminants.

Another culprit for reducing the indoor air quality can be attributed to personal hygiene body sprays and deodorants. One Pennsylvania student, Brandon Silk, from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, had to be homeschooled because his allergy to a name brand body spray sent him into anaphylactic shock. Brandon and his mother Rosa, recently shared their story to help promote this issue to more student’s statewide. His story can be seen on Women for Healthy Environment’s YouTube channel.

Toolkit Helps Educate
Last year, Women for a Healthy Environment launched a Fragrance-Free Schools Toolkit. This free, downloadable toolkit was designed and distributed to raise awareness and provide tools, tips and resources for school district personnel and parents to work together to create a healthy school environment, free from fragrance and other harmful chemicals that reduce indoor air quality.

The toolkit includes a reference guide, PowerPoint presentation, posters for personnel to post in schools, and activities for students to become more familiar with the harms associated with using fragranced products.

To learn more about the video contact Women for a Healthy Environment at 412-404-2872 or chelsea(at)WomenForAHealthyEnvironment(dot)org. When emailing, please include “Video Contest” in the subject line.

About Women for a Healthy Environment
Women for a Healthy Environment focuses on educating the general public on issues associated with the links between negative health effects and environmental exposures. The organization advocates for policy solutions that better protect human health and collaborates with like-minded organizations to raise awareness on environmental health issues. More information about Women for a Healthy Environment is available at http://www.WomenForaHealthyEnvironment.org.

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