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How to Keep the Air Clean in Child-Care Facilities

Due to the efficiency of sealing as well as heating and air conditioning units, there is a hazard to public health called "sick building syndrome." Some buildings maintain their environment so well that toxins build up from the various building and decorative materials, making those people who occupy the space inside regularly sick. Places such as child care facilities where bacteria and viruses may also run rampant could be hotbeds of potential health hazards. Cleaning up the air in a facility such as a day care center is more common sense than you might think.

Things You'll Need

  • HEPA filter for HVAC system
  • Low- or no-VOC paint
  • Painting supplies such as brush, roller, pan.
  • Houseplants
  • Water
  • Non-toxic cleaners
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    • 1

      Install HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter in your HVAC system. HEPA filters remove tiny particulates of dust, dander, pollen, mold spores and other respiratory irritants from the air. This is helpful for everyone but especially for children with asthma and allergies.

    • 2

      Use low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints in your child care center. Conventional oil-based paints exude highly toxic fumes, mostly notably the "fresh paint" smell, which also remains long after the paint fume smell has faded. Toxins and carcinogens such as formaldehyde, xylene and benzene slowly release into the air over time and damage the heart, lungs and nervous system according to the Environmental Protection Agency's website. Low- or no-VOC paints do not contain these toxins.

    • 3

      Incorporate simple houseplants such as English ivy, bamboo, philodendrons and spider plants into the child care center. VOCs also leak through furniture such as laminated surfaces, pressed wood shelves and synthetic carpet. Houseplants filter the gases out of the air as well as taking the carbon dioxide humans breathe out and producing oxygen instead. Less toxins and more fresh oxygen equals a healthy indoor environment.

    • 4

      Open windows and doors on nice days to allow fresh air in. Children tend to bring bacteria and viruses with them wherever they go, so airing out the child care center can help minimize airborne illnesses. It can also ease and balance indoor humidity and help prevent mold from forming.

    • 5

      Clean and disinfect the child care facilities with nontoxic cleaners. Only use chlorine bleach if absolutely necessary, as chlorine is highly toxic and a respiratory irritant. In most cases, a nontoxic alternative can be vinegar solutions or commercial eco-friendly cleaners. Disinfecting surfaces with eco-friendly cleaners still eliminates bacteria and viruses from surfaces without filling the air with harmful chemicals. Also dry any wet areas as soon as possible to prevent mold growth.

    • 6

      Use soap in your child care facility but not the anti-bacterial kind. With the prevalent use of antibacterial soaps and cleaners, some bacteria have evolved into an immunity. A good thorough washing with warm to hot water and a good soap will still sanitize and remove germs without potentially encouraging more bacterial development into immunity.