Background: Children are sensitive to indoor environmental pollution. Up until now there has been a lack of data on air quality in child day care centers.
Objectives: The aim of this study is to document the indoor environment quality of Paris child day care centers by repeated measurements, and to compare pollutant levels in child day care centers with levels in Paris dwellings.
Methods: We selected 28 child day care centers frequented by a random sample of babies who participated in the PARIS birth cohort environmental investigation, and visited the child day care centers for one week twice in one year. Biological contaminants assessed were fungi, endotoxin, dust mite allergens, and chemical pollutants: aldehydes, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Relative humidity, temperature, and carbon dioxide levels were measured simultaneously. A standardized questionnaire was used to gather information about the buildings and their inhabitants.
Results: Airborne endotoxin levels in child day care centers were higher than those found in Paris dwellings. Dust mite allergens in child day care centers were below the threshold level for sensitization in the majority of samples, and in common with dwelling samples. Penicillium and Cladosporium were the most commonly identified genera fungi. The child day care center indoor/outdoor ratio for most chemical pollutants was above unity except for NO2, the levels for NO2 being significantly higher than those measured in homes.
Conclusion: Chemical and biological contamination in child day care centers appears to be low, apart from endotoxin and NO2. Failure to take child exposure in child day care centers into account could result in an overestimation of children's exposure to other pollutants.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.