Over the past two years, we’ve heard how cleaning and disinfecting is a good precaution to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19, especially in common spaces and school settings. But if not used properly, chemicals found in cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting products can be hazardous to health. Children are particularly vulnerable to potential health effects from chemicals in these products.
To help us keep children safe, the Oregon Choose Safe Places program has created a Safe Cleaning & Disinfecting Social Media Toolkit to share with organizations and audiences responsible for cleaning and disinfecting children’s spaces.
- Find it online at safecleaningtoolkit.oregon.gov.
- The toolkit contains sample social media messages for a variety of safe cleaning and disinfecting topics.
Harmful chemicals can pose a hidden danger
Children and adults can be exposed to harmful chemicals from sources such as:
- Contaminated soil and groundwater
- Polluted drinking water
- Outdoor air pollution
- Chemicals used indoors
These chemicals can get into our bodies through skin contact, breathing, eating, or drinking. You might not consider this to be an issue at a childcare center, but harmful chemicals can linger on your property from past site activities or travel onto your property.
Children are more sensitive to harmful chemicals than adults
Children’s developing brains and growing bodies make them more vulnerable to the effects of harmful chemicals. Children tend to put their hands in their mouths, play on the ground, drink more water, and breathe more air for their size. These activities could potentially expose them to harmful chemicals could disrupt development, learning, and behavior. It can also contribute to diseases later in life.
About Oregon Choose Safe Places
Oregon Choose Safe Places helps childcare centers make their properties safe from potentially harmful chemicals by helping childcare centers to:
- Make safe decisions about where to locate future childcare center sites.
- Evaluate potential environmental hazards at existing childcare centers.
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) works closely with the Oregon Department of Education’s Early Learning Division and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Learn more about Oregon Choose Safe Places by watching this short video: