Online Program

Preventing Exposures through the Safe Siting of Child Care Facilities: An ATSDR Initiative

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 10:50 a.m. - 11:10 a.m.

Greg Ulirsch, MS, PhD, Division of Community Health Investigation, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Atlanta, GA
In July 2006, child care officials in New Jersey closed down Kiddie Kollege Day Care Center in Franklinville, New Jersey after environmental sampling levels confirmed that there were elevated levels of mercury vapor in the day care center. For two years, community members brought their children to be cared for at Kiddie Kollege, unaware that the facility previously house a mercury thermometer factory.  This is just one example of many where ATSDR has identified risks to children because of environmental hazards at child care centers.

Unlike with schools, child care and early learning facilities can operate in a large range of  settings, including office buildings, strip malls, homes, and religious buildings. Child care operators may be unaware of nearby or internal potential causes for exposure such as site contamination, hazardous waste sites, nearby emission sources, or air and water quality issues.

Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Screening Assessment for Environmental Risk (SAFER) Program, a non-regulatory approach to determine whether a child care center may be impacted by environmental contamination.  Building off the success of the SAFER Program and working with a broad range of interdisciplinary partners, ATSDR has begun developing guidance and resources for state and local officials, child care operators, and other partners on issues related to the siting of child care facilities. ATSDR’s safe siting initiative will help ensure that child care and early learning facilities are located in areas where chemical and physical hazards have been considered, addressed, and mitigated to best protect children’s health.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
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 the populations of infants and young children who are in child care and are most at risk of exposures to environmental hazards. Examine recent successes and current efforts to incorporate environmental health into child care policies and practices through Health in All Policies (HiAP) collaborative projects. Discuss key environmental health reports, standards and policies recently created to improve the environmental health in and around child care facilities.

Keyword(s): Child Health, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked with ATDSR as and Environmental Health Scientist for 28 years working on issues related to preventing and evaluating chemical exposures. I am currently the Associate Director for Science for my branch and have been co-chair of the Childcare Center Safe Siting Initiative since its inception.
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.