A study of environmental contaminants and exposures for California day care centers has revealed that the facilities often contained elevated levels of some contaminants, particularly formaldehyde, a respiratory irritant and carcinogen often found in glue, paint and laminates.
The University of California researchers found that 35 of the 40 investigated day cares had levels of formaldehyde greater than nine micrograms per cubic meters over eight hours, which is above California’s guideline for safe exposure.
The 40 centers in the study were located in a mix of urban, rural and agricultural areas, and serve a total of 1,764 children. The researchers collected air and floor dust samples when the children were present and tested for a broad array of chemicals.
Particles in the air were also measured, including ultrafine particles, which are extremely small and can be inhaled deeply into lungs.
The researchers also detected other chemicals, including phthalates (found in plastics), flame retardants, pesticides and perfluorinated compounds (found in Teflon and stain resistant carpets).