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J Public Health (Oxf). 2016 Sep;38(3):e209-e217. Epub 2015 Sep 26.

Findings from a pilot environmental health intervention at early childhood centers in the District of Columbia.

Author information

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (TU SPHTM), New Orleans, LA, USA New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH), New York, NY, USA.
Childrens Environmental Health Network (CEHN), Washington, DC, USA.
George Washington University (GWU), Washington, DC, USA.



Children are uniquely susceptible to environmental health exposures that effect developmental delays and negatively impact long-term health outcomes. Despite extensive hours spent at early child care centers, child care providers (CCPs) lack the knowledge to identify and mitigate environmental hazards to the children.


From 2007 to 2010, we recruited child care centers in the District of Columbia and offered interactive environmental health training to the CCPs. Each center underwent a 90-min environmental health risk assessment (ERA) at baseline and also after the trainings. Dependent t-tests were used to assess the mean change on the ERA score and also the knowledge test administered pre- and post-trainings. Analysis of variance was used to examine the association between knowledge change for the CCPs and the ERA scores of their centers.


Of the 60 facilities, 68% reduced their environmental risk. The 585 CCPs who attended the training session showed significant improvement on all items on the test. However, test scores for the CCPs from centers that reduced their risk were not significantly different from the other CCPs.


The trainings increased knowledge on environmental health hazards among CCPs. Areas of significant risk reduction were under the direct control of the CCPs and corresponded to key items on the knowledge test.


action research, children; public health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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