Lauren Wendelken 0

Move the daycare center at UCSF Mission Bay

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The parents of children enrolled at the UCSF-sponsored daycare center (run by Bright Horizons) at the UCSF Mission Bay Campus have launched a campaign to have the daycare center relocated. We believe it is in the best interests of the children to move the Mission Bay child care facility away from the construction sites that surround it and relocate it to an alternative safer location.

The native soil throughout Mission Bay is contaminated with toxins including lead, arsenic, carcinogenic hydrocarbons, and asbestos. Disturbance of the native soil through construction activities or high winds causes the dirt and toxins to become airborne. Furthermore, use of heavy construction equipment releases exhaust fumes containing carcinogens. Exposure to these chemicals – even at low levels – has been linked to developmental delays, respiratory disease, lower IQ, general poor health outcomes, and cancer.

We are petitioning the University to find an alternative safe location for the daycare in a responsible manner and to maintain the current daycare staff during any transition, with full transparency and support for parents of children enrolled at the center. We ask that this be done prior to commencement of any further construction activities near the current daycare center site.

Please sign our petition and help us get the University on our side!

This photo was taken in May 2013. On the left-hand side you can see two of the daycare center playgrounds where children ages 3 months to 3 years play. The large mound of dirt in the upper right corner is the "surcharge" pile that will be moved closer to the daycare center. After the move, the pile will reach to the asphalt perimeter running just behind the two playgrounds seen in this photo. This pile is made up of native Mission Bay soil, which contains lead, arsenic, asbestos, and carcinogenic hydrocarbons.


The center is housed in a temporary structure, and the lots surrounding the center are either currently being developed or are slated for development commencing as early as 2014. Soil tests were conducted prior to development of the Mission Bay campus, and data from these tests, and tests done on sites being developed since that time, all reveal the presence of the toxins listed above in native Mission Bay soil.

Since the daycare was opened in 2006, multiple construction projects have occurred in the vicinity of the daycare, including construction of the Sandler Neuroscience Center, movement of large piles of dirt onto lots adjacent to the daycare (a process called “surcharging”), and the breakup and removal of asphalt in the lot directly behind the daycare. All activities involve disturbance of the native soil, increasing risk for exposure to particulate matter containing toxins. The center cares for children ages 3 months through 5 years old, and many of the children at the daycare center have already been there for 4+ years; all the children spend several hours outside on the playgrounds every day.

One of the lots directly adjacent to the daycare playgrounds contains a large stockpile of dirt made up of native Mission Bay soil. The University is planning to move this pile in August 2013 closer to the daycare, increasing the risk that our children will be exposed to harmful toxins. Furthermore, the sites surrounding the daycare are slated for development in the coming years, including the lot directly across the street at 1600 Owens. Risk management guidelines for development of Mission Bay – which are intended to mitigate but do not eliminate risk of exposure to toxins in the soil – are incomplete as regards the placement of a daycare center in close proximity to active construction sites, and recent construction activities have been undertaken without recommended risk management practices being observed.

Although this daycare center is in a temporary structure, the University has stated that they will not move it before conducting future construction activities, and discussions have indicated that the daycare center may remain in its current location for another five years or more.

By adding your name to this petition, you are requesting that UCSF move the Mission Bay childcare facility to a safe location away from construction and other environmental hazards.


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