State will test day care centers for dry-cleaning chemicals

Six child care centers will be tested for dry-cleaning solvents that could be seeping into indoor air from ground pollution, state health officials said this week.
A Department of Health spokesman said the testing this month is not in response to any known ailments. Rather, he said, it’s part of an initiative that’s been in the works for some time, to test for pollution near current and former dry-cleaning operations.
The six child care centers to be tested this month were chosen because they’re all within 200 feet of an existing or former dry cleaner, said Bennett Truman, public health communication officer at Vermont’s Department of Health.
The state didn’t publicly identify the centers or say where they are, but officials said staff and families are being notified of the testing and will receive information about the results.
Future testing may occur at or near the more than 400 current or former dry-cleaning sites around Vermont, Truman said.
Among the more prevalent chemicals often found in proximity to dry-cleaning operations is tetrachloroethylene, a solvent that removes stains and is toxic even in small quantities.
State authorities assigned a high priority to testing child care centers because youngsters are particularly susceptible to the effects of long-term exposure to this and other toxins, according to information provided by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Testing is expected to take two weeks from the time samples are taken.
In the past, some dry-cleaning operators released pollutants from their businesses directly into the environment, according to DEC documents. Many of those solvents remain in the soil and can release toxic fumes into buildings through the foundations.
More information about the testing is available here.
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