Pilot Study Finds Elevated Levels of Pollutants in Child Care Facilities

Writing in the April 2016, edition of Environmental Research, study authors note that “Many young children in the U.S. spend a significant portion of their day in child care facilities where they may be exposed to contaminants linked to adverse health effects. Exposure data on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM) in these settings is scarce.” The authors conducted a pilot study to characterize indoor levels of select VOCs and PM, recruiting 14 child care facilities in Washington, DC. They measured indoor concentrations of seven VOCsand collected real-time PM measurements in seven facilities. The authors also administered surveys on the children’s health, housekeeping practices and potential sources of any contamination.

The research found six of the seven VOCs in the majority of child care facilities with detection frequencies ranging from 71% to 100%. High concentrations of PM were also discovered. Likely sources were chlorine bleach, air fresheners and/or scented candles. The author conclude, “We found quantifiable levels of VOCs and PM in the child care facilities sampled. Given that exposures to environmental contaminants during critical developmental stages may have long lasting impacts on children’s health, larger studies are needed to characterize and identify sources of exposures to these and other indoor contaminants to develop exposure mitigation strategies.”

Click here for the abstract.