Carmen Ng 0

Keep our Children Safe

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As parents of young preschoolers attending MSJ Children's Center (MSJCC), we are very concerned about the remodeling of the center that is currently taking place. Remodeling conducted while school is in session often present unnecessary risks to children and staff. Some environmental hazards that can occur during remodeling include lead-contaminated debris, asbestos fibers, dust contaminated with lead/asbestos/mold, fumes from construction equipment, excessive noise, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from glues and paints, mold, and so forth.

Our children are very young (below 6 years old) and they are in MSJCC for up to 10 hours a day. They are at higher risk than adults for health problems that can result from these hazards. Children are especially vulnerable to environmental risks because their bodies are still developing and are less able to identify, articulate or protect themselves from hazardous exposures. There is growing evidence that contaminated indoor air can produce verbal, perceptual, motor and behavioral disabilities in children.

Each child has a right to an environmentally safe and healthy learning environment that is clean and in good repair. As parents, we have a right to know about environmental health issues and hazards our children may be exposed to in the center. We urge MSJCC to respect these rights by taking steps to control exposure to hazardous materials and equipment during the remodeling process, including and not limited to, the following:

1. Take steps and use construction materials that are less toxic (e.g., with very low or no VOC) and less hazardous to the young occupants;

2. Make sure work crews are trained and prepared to take appropriate steps to keep hazards from contaminating study and sleeping space;

3. Test the remodeled area for lead-based paint;

4. Safely store tools and materials out of children's reach at all times;

5. Install one or more HEPA air purifiers that are effective in scrubbing the air for entire area that the children occupy without emitting ozone;

6. Allow the children to spend time outside the center as much as possible if the weather permits;

7. Vacuum the area the children occupy for dust at least twice a day; and

8. Send weekly notifications to the parents about the progress of the remodeling and the steps taken to protect the health and safety of the children.

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