State Policies for Advancing Environmental Health in Licensed Child Care Facilities

The child care environment is vitally important to the healthy development of millions of young children who receive care outside their homes. Along with creating a safe, nurturing, and stimulating child care program, protecting children from exposure to indoor environmental contaminants is critical to advancing the core goals of early care and education. The following reports discuss state policies strategies for addressing a variety of environmental health issues in licensed child care facilities, highlighting notable examples to assist policymakers, agency officials, non-governmental organizations and associations, and others who work to advance quality child care and promote children’s health.

Reducing Environmental Exposures in Child Care Facilities: A Review of State Policy (January 2015)

This report, prepared by ELI and the Children’s Environmental Health Network, provides an overview of how state policy addresses a variety of indoor environmental issues in the child care setting. The report includes chapters covering: Environmental Tobacco Smoke; Radon; Carbon Monoxide Alarms; Mold and Dampness; Building Ventilation and Temperature; Pesticides; Lead-Based Paint; Asbestos; Other Chemical Exposures: Cleaning, Renovation, and Consumer Products; and Facility Site/Location. For each issue, the report highlights notable examples of policy strategies for states to consider, along with notable non-regulatory initiatives that are being implemented by state agencies. The report is designed to assist policymakers, agency officials, non-governmental organizations and associations, and others who work to advance quality child care and promote children’s health. You can download the Executive Summary here.

Drinking Water Quality in Child Care Facilities: A Review of State Policy (August 2015)

This report describes how state laws and regulations across the U.S. address drinking water quality in child care facilities and provides an overview of the drinking water quality provisions in four types of state policies– drinking water regulations, food service codes, sanitation codes for child care facilities, and child care licensing laws and regulations.

Addressing Environmental Site Hazards at Child Care Facilities: A Review of State Policy Strategies (May 2018)

This report aims to assist decisionmakers in considering how state policies and programs can prevent and address exposure to environmental site hazards at licensed child care facilities. The report describes existing state laws, regulations, and voluntary initiatives and highlights considerations for developing new policies and programs to advance safe siting. 

Funding for Environmental Assessment and Remediation at Child Care Facilities: A Review of Selected Resources (July 2019) 

This report highlights some of the federal, state, and non-governmental funding sources that are potentially available to help ensure that child care programs are able to address environmental hazards and continue serving their communities. The examples of financial assistance programs presented in the paper offer a starting point for exploring funding resources that are available in other states or that could be established in the future.

Federal, State, and Local Policies Addressing Chemical Emissions from Dry Cleaners: Opportunities for Reducing Exposure at Child Care Facilities  (July 2020)

This report describes some of the federal, state, and local laws and regulations that have been established to reduce the potential health risks posed by the use of perchloroethylene (perc or PCE) at dry cleaners, with a focus on policies that can help reduce exposures at nearby child care facilities and other sensitive land uses. The information is provided to assist policymakers, advocates, and others in further developing and implementing policies and programs in the areas of environmental protection, health, land use, and child care licensing.

Radon in Child Care: Review of State Policies (July 2021)

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas and the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon gas can become concentrated indoors, and elevated levels have been found in buildings in every state. The only way to know the radon level in a building is to test the building – thus, policymakers can take an important step in protecting the health of children and staff by requiring radon testing in licensed child care facilities. This report supports such efforts by describing state policies that already require radon testing and mitigation and by highlighting key considerations for future policy development.

Selected State Policy and Program Strategies for Integrating Safe Siting Considerations into the Child Care Licensing Process (September 2022)

This paper describes some of the ways that states have integrated safe siting considerations into child care licensing policies and program. The first section of the paper provides an overview of child care licensing regulations and related policies that establish requirements for addressing potential site hazards. The second section describes voluntary property screening initiatives carried out by state Choose Safe Places programs and some of the ways those programs have connected their voluntary resources with the state’s licensing process.