Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

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

5.2 Quality of the Outdoor and Indoor Environment

5.2.9 Prevention and Management of Toxic Substances Chemicals Used to Control Odors

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 8/25/2016.


The use of the following should be prohibited:

  1. Incense;
  2. Moth crystals or moth balls;
  3. Air fresheners or sanitizers (both manmade and natural, e.g. essential oils); and
  4. Toilet/urinal deodorizer blocks (1,2).
Many chemicals are sold to cover up noxious odors or ward off pests. Many of these chemicals are hazardous (3). As an alternative, caregivers/teachers should remove the source of noxious odors to the extent possible by dissipating noxious odors through cleaning and ventilation (e.g., opening windows) and controlling pests using nontoxic methods.

Toilet/urinal deodorizer blocks commonly contain para-dichlorobenzene (PDCB), a toxic chemical, designated as a possible human carcinogen (4), that has no cleaning function. These deodorizers only serves to mask odors that should be eliminated by proper cleaning.

Contact the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional offices listed in the federal agency section of the telephone directory for assistance in identifying hazardous products.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Ensuring Access to Fresh Air Indoors Integrated Pest Management
  1. Potera, C. (2011). Scented Products Emit a Bouquet of VOCs. Environmental Health Perspectives 119(1), a16.  
  2. Fiene, R. 2002. 13 indicators of quality child care: Research update. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
  3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 2015.Indoor environmental quality.
  4. Suhua, W., L. Rongzhu, Y. Changqing, X. Guangwei, H. Fangan, J. Junjie, X. Wenrong, M. Aschner. 2010. Lipid peroxidation and changes of trace elements in mice treated with paradichlorobenzene. Biol Trace Elem Res 136:320-36.
  5. Focus (1998). Scents and Sensitivity. Environmental Health Perspectives 106(12), A594-A599.
  6. Children’s Environmental Health Network. (March 2016). Fragrances. Retrieved from

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 8/25/2016.