A new study finds children at some day care centers in California are breathing toxic air. Researchers tested dozens of day care centers in the state and found high levels of air contaminants. Experts say this is not an immediate health threat, but certainly a cause for concern.
It's a place where parents should feel safe dropping their kids off. But new research shows danger could be looming in the air at some day care centers.
The California Air Resources Board sponsored the UC Berkely study. 40 day care centers in Monterey and Alameda Counties were surveyed.
Dave Clegern from the California Air Resource Board says, "What we found was elevated levels of formaldehyde in 35 of the facilities."
Experts say formaldehyde typically comes from old furniture. It's also found in facilities where gas stoves are used to cook. The levels tested exceeded state regulations.
"There are a lot of kids out there with asthma and conditions like that and that's the sort of thing that can be aggravated by this," says Clegern.
Melanie Weber, Happy Days School, says "That was a surprise to me, that was not something I would think about or even know about."
Melanie Weber runs the Happy Days School in Kingsburg. She says she and her staff work hard to keep the center safe for kids.
"We open windows, we work at keeping our air filters checked and cleaned regularly."
She's never tested for air contaminants because her licensing doesn't require it.
"There are many things that we are continually watching and monitoring and we do our best to keep a clean site, and then yet how do you measure air?" added Weber.
The study also found levels of household cleaning chemicals and pesticides in the air.
"They're not alarming, they're concerning. It's basically just a question of being aware of your environment and keeping on top of the dusting and the cooking thing in particular," says Clegern.
This was the first study of it's kind in the state. Researches say it was done mostly to raise awareness. They say most issues can be cleaned up with some extra dusting, vacuuming and making sure air is properly circulating.