267442 Assessing environmental health risks in early care and education: Findings from two California surveys

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Asa Bradman, PhD , Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Vickie Leonard, RN PhD , Institute for Health and Aging, University of California, San Francisco, Berkeley, CA
Approximately 1.1 million California children ages 0-5 and 146,000 staff spend 40 or more hours per week in child care (CC) programs or preschools. There is virtually no information available on environmental exposures of young children in California CC environments to substances such as pesticides, VOCs, aldehydes, phthalate esters, perfluorinated compounds, and brominated flame retardants. These exposures can cause or exacerbate asthma and other respiratory illnesses or impair neurocognitive functioning in children. Many of these chemicals are reproductive toxicants and may be harmful to the developing child; some of these chemicals are probable human carcinogens. This presentation will describe two recent studies examining environmental health risks in California CC programs. The first was a survey of California CC centers on pests and pesticide use and the second was a sampling study that examined air pollutants present in 40 center and family child care programs. Both studies evidence the health risks present in many CC environments and the need to address environmental quality in these settings where so many very young children spend many hours a day. Two educational curricula for CC providers that were designed to address some of these environmental concerns in CC will also be described.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1.Explain why children 0 to 5 are at increased risk from exposure to environmental health hazards 2.Identify 3 chemicals with known health risks that have been found at hazardous levels in early care and education environments. 3.Describe 3 steps that public health professionals can take to improve environmental health in early care and education programs.

Keywords: Child Care, Hazardous Air Pollutants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I collaborated with Asa Bradman on the research studies and was principle author of the Toolkits.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.