Background

About 32.7 million U.S. children are enrolled in these child-care facilities, with some children attending for as much as 50 hours per week. Limited studies indicate that child-care environments contain contaminants linked to adverse health effects. Thus, children attending these facilities may experience chronic exposures to potentially deleterious contaminants during critical windows of development. Nonetheless, these settings have generally been overlooked as a potential source of exposure to contaminants, and disproportionate exposures to contaminants may be prevalent in urban environments. In addition, child-care professionals, especially those located in low-income and culturally diverse communities, are generally not receiving education and training on environmental health considerations and the low-to-no-cost best practices that can be adopted as strategies for promoting health and wellness.

Goals

The main goal is to educate on and build capacity in environmental health awareness in Latino communities, the largest-growing ethnic group in the nation, and then beyond that, to educate on how to reduce the use of chemicals that can adversely affect the environment and the health of vulnerable populations. Our objectives are thus to train and empower child-care educators and have them subsequently educate child-care providers in their state through the Eco-Healthy Child Care® program curriculum. One training will be provided in Spanish and one in English. Barriers against implementation of exposure-reduction strategies will be identified and will inform future research and intervention efforts.

Main activities

Results

We expect to build community environmental health awareness capacity via culturally competent training/education material for child-care educators in environmental health. Data collected from baseline and repeat knowledge surveys will highlight environmental health knowledge gained. Results will guide research and intervention efforts to reduce environmental exposures in vulnerable populations, including Latino communities, experiencing disproportionate environmental exposures.