Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.2 Quality of the Outdoor and Indoor Environment

5.2.1 Ventilation, Heating, Cooling, and Hot Water Ventilation of Recently Carpeted or Paneled Areas

Doors and windows should be opened in areas that have been recently carpeted or paneled using adhesives until the odors are no longer present. Window fans, room air conditioners, or other means to exhaust emission to the outdoors should be used.
Adhesives that contain toxic materials can cause significant symptoms in occupants of buildings where these materials are used. Many carpets contain polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) to retard flames. PBDEs are associated with several adverse health effects in animal studies including changes in memory and learning, interference with thyroid function, endocrine disruption, and cancer (2). One study found that toddlers and preschoolers typically had three times more of these compounds in their blood as their mothers (1).
Facilities should choose carpeting or other flooring options that are PBDE-free. Low-odor, water-based, non-toxic products should be encouraged.

For more information on “safe” levels of home indoor air pollutants, contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. Lunder, S., A. Jacob. 2008. Fire retardants in toddlers and their mothers: Levels three times higher in toddlers than moms. Environmental Working Group.
  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pollution prevention and toxics: Polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs). http://www