RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A group of parents, who want to know more about the air quality in their children’s schools, are taking matters into their own hands. They’re measuring carbon dioxide levels in the classrooms.

They looked at levels in 12 classrooms in five different Wake County Public Schools, and while the parents emphasize that this is not a scientific study, they hope their findings will encourage district leaders to take a closer look at ventilation.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, measuring carbon dioxide levels can help assess the quality of ventilation.

Kira Kroboth, who created the NC Alliance for School Equity and Safety group sent a portable carbon dioxide monitor to her son’s elementary school to check the levels in his classrooms.

“At my particular school, it made me feel a lot better,” she said.

Kroboth said the levels measured in her children’s classrooms were close to the CDC benchmark for good indoor ventilation, that is 800 parts per million or lower. But when parents sent monitors into classrooms at other schools, several showed higher levels.

“When an entire grade level is in a portable mobile building, separate from the main building at the school, we are seeing high CO2 readings at those locations,” Kroboth said. “One even got up to 3,100 parts per million.”

North Carolina State University’s Dr. Jennifer Richmond-Bryant said to get true scientific reading, a carbon dioxide monitor must be carefully calibrated, but if a device turns up levels that seem concerning, professionals can determine whether there’s truly a problem.

“If you’re noticing the levels are high, just to be on the safe side it’s something to look into,” she said. “What it might call for is having an environmental contracting firm come through and do an analysis.”

Kroboth acknowledges data collected by parents may not be exact.

“It is not a scientific study,” she emphasized. “I want to be very clear on that.”

Still, data caught the attention of a group advocating for indoor air quality across the country.

“We’ve been connected with parents in 35 states,” Michael Bailey, with Indoor Air Care Advocates, said.

He said some parents in his group are also collecting data using CO2 monitors.

Here in Wake County, Kroboth said parents plan to continue collecting data at various schools. She hopes parents’ findings will prompt the district to take a closer look at ventilation.

According to Wake County Public Schools, MERV-13 high filtration filters are used in school HVAC systems.

In regards to the CO2 monitors, WCPSS Chief of Communication, Lisa Luten, said “The district has spoken with Ms. Kroboth about her concerns. Related to this conversation, the district is exploring the possibility of monitoring air quality in our classrooms.”

To see the data the parents collected, click here.