In addition to describing the exposures, the ACE report reviews the current status and trends for 23 environmental health concerns. Among these are contamination of air, food, land and indoor environments; monitoring contaminants in children’s blood; diseases and health issues; and contaminants in schools and child care facilities.
Each topic includes a general description of the issue and “indicators of exposure.” The indicators are the results of studies or statistics that indirectly measure potential exposure of children to a hazard. For example, an indicator of exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is the percent of children living in homes where someone smokes. Trends over time have shown a dramatic decrease in children’s exposure to ETS.
Many of these topics are relevant for early learning professionals. Although we cannot control every aspect of outdoor environmental pollution, we can limit children’s exposure to them. Indoors, we can make the environment safer by wise choices and practices related to products we use.
The ACE report section “Contaminants in Schools and Child Care Facilities” (p. 288) is especially helpful. It describes research that found a widespread problem of pesticide residues on surfaces in child care centers. The evidence showed that these residues are long-lasting contaminants. The researchers used special wipes to collect samples from children’s hands. They found many children in the child care centers had pesticide residues on their hands.
Pesticides are intended to be toxic to control pests. Everyone should use the improved pest management strategies called “Integrated Pest Management” (IPM) to limit human exposure to pesticides. For more information on safer, more effective pest control for child care go to the EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection at http://www2.epa.gov/childcare and Penn State’s IPM Program at http://extension.psu.edu/ipm/childcare. To read the full ACE report, go to http://www.epa.gov/ace/.
Contributed by Lyn Garling, Program Manager PA IPM Program, Penn State University
ECELS Reminders about Key Strategies of IPM for Pest Control
Observe where and how much of a pest problem you have
- Shut them out
- Stop feeding them
- Remove clutter that hides them