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Special Environments

Schools and Child Care Settings
Schools and child care settings can have many indoor hazards. They include asbestos, lead, carbon monoxide, radon, smoke (cigarettes), mycotoxins, and pesticides.

Asbestos, lead, radon and carbon monoxide poisoning all pose a higher risk in older buildings but can occur in new buildings as well. It is important to check with school officials to see if these problems are a potential hazard or if steps have been taken to prevent them.

Cigarette smoke is a larger problem in home day care units where smoking is permitted versus day care where smoking is not permitted. To avoid second hand smoke be sure to place your child in a setting that is smoke free.

Mycotoxins and pesticides can pose a risk in any setting. Mycotoxins are produced by molds and can be avoided through proper cleaning and adequate ventilation. Pesticides are important to decrease the pest population but can be toxic to humans as well. Responsible spraying of pesticides will not only reduce hazards but will also reduce costs as well.

Work Places
Five million adolescents younger than 18 are legally employed in the US.  In addition about 1 to 2 million are employed in violation of wage, hour, or safety regulations. Adolescents younger than 18 are not allowed to work with hazardous chemicals or machinery. The biggest risk that work place chemicals pose to those under 18 is exposure through inhalation. It is important to read the Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) that should be present near the chemical storage site. The MSDS will contain all the information that you need to determine the risk that each chemical poses.

Waste Sites
Waste sites are a cornucopia of hazards. They can cause ground, water, and air pollution. The other factor is that waste sites are often a tempting place to explore for children. This gives them direct exposure to hazardous materials. It is important obey all warning signs in and around waste sites. The amount of damage that exposure to waste sites can cause depends on the type of waste, the amount of hazardous materials, and the length of exposure. If unusual symptoms occur after exposure, it is important to contact a poison control center or see a doctor. 

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