Online Program

An indoor air quality investigation within a central city daycare by a local public health agency; Emerging trends and challenges for environmental health

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 4:30 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.

Paul A. Biedrzycki, MPH, MBA, CIH, City of Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee, WI
Robert Thiboldeaux, PhD, Division of Public Health, State of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Terri Linder, BS, RS, City of Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee, WI
During 2011, the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) conducted an environmental investigation and communicated health risks related to indoor air quality at a City of Milwaukee central city child daycare facility. The work was conducted in cooperation with the State of Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and involved indoor air quality (IAQ). The investigation assessed volatile organic compounds from the building occupied by the daycare related to the WDNR's investigation of an active dry cleaner operation located directly next door and connected through common building infrastructure. Several rounds of indoor air sampling were conducted over a 6-month period to characterize exposure to daycare staff and clients, along with other occupants of the multi-story building. The IAQ results revealed several chemical contaminants, some related to the drycleaner operation, as well as other potential sources including building material and previous soil and groundwater contamination. The cooperative efforts of both the DPH and WNDR assisted the MHD in interpreting the IAQ results, reviewing regulatory and toxicological literature and establishing public health risk thresholds. Risk communication was initiated by the MHD and DPH to the building occupants and clientele concerning all IAQ results. In addition, the MHD along with the DPH and WNDR evaluated dry cleaner remediation efforts throughout the investigation prior to initiating enforcement action. Given the increasing need for affordable childcare in many communities, daycares operations are increasing in number and often do not include consideration of environmental threats. Zoning and occupancy permits related to daycare operations should include a public health risk assessment or similar review prior to approval to prevent similar incident as described in this case study. These types of investigations are costly and time-consuming and potentially create a long-term health risk to daycare staff and children alike.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe an indoor air quality investigation within a daycare setting involving several sources and types of chemical contaminants with assistance of other State public and environmental health agencies. List the categories and levels of indoor air contaminants detected during a daycare investigation conducted by the City of Milwaukee Health Department. Explain how indoor air quality testing and analysis was used to determine public health thresholds for occupant risk assessment. Discuss how risk communication was implemented for daycare employees, clients and other building occupants. Explain local public health agency enforcement actions and mechanisms to limit daycare occupant exposure to indoor air chemical contamination.

Keyword(s): Indoor Environment, Environmental Exposures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I currently serve as Director of Disease Control and Environmental Health for the City of Milwaukee Health Department and led the investigation as described in the abstract.
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.