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Children need safe places

Protect the health of the children in your care

Learn more about checking your property for environmental hazards and choosing a thoughtful location for your child care business:

  • PDFSafe Places Fact Sheet
    Are you opening a new child care business? Consider these environmental public health concerns.
  • Contact Us
    Our scientists know about the health effects of toxic chemicals, and can help answer any questions you may have when choosing a location for a new business. Please email us at

Program Development

The Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education initiative is a three-year pilot project developed in three phases:

  • Define the childcare landscape in Alaska
  • Develop a pilot program
  • Implement pilot program

The EPHP hopes to continue the program beyond the third year dependent on funding, staffing, and need. Please contact the Environmental Public Health Program at 269-8000 if you have questions or would like more information.

Choose Safe Places

Do you own a child care business, or are you opening one? Please consider environmental public health concerns when choosing a location. If your child care facility is located where children come into contact with harmful chemicals, the children in your care – and your employees – are not safe.

COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 has impacted childcare facilities in multiple ways. Below is some information about cleaning and disinfecting as well as how to improve indoor air quality to help reduce the spread of viruses.

We’re here to help!

The Alaska Environmental Public Health Program (EPHP) is working to prevent early childhood exposure to environmental contaminants by helping ensure child care and early education programs are safely located. We work with professionals from the environmental health sciences, child care licensing, planning and zoning, and early care and education to help prevent childhood exposure to harmful chemicals and contaminants.

The initiative, Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education, is funded by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Several child care and early education programs in the United States have been found in locations that could expose children and staff to environmental contamination. ATSDR is partnering with many states, including Alaska, to help child care facilities choose safe spaces.

Considerations for safe siting include:

  • Were harmful chemicals ever used, made, or dumped at the site?
    Businesses such as funeral homes, dry cleaners, automotive garages, and nail salons may use toxic chemicals, may have previously used them, or disposed them on site. Applicants should know the history of the property.
  • Are businesses using harmful chemicals near the site?
    Do the neighboring businesses or homes currently use any toxic chemicals or have they in the past? If so, these chemicals could leak onto the child care provider’s property and present a health risk.
  • Is the site at risk for naturally occurring contaminants like radon and arsenic?
    Properties that use well water rather than city water should consider having their well tested for the presence of arsenic (a naturally occurring substance that can also be found at high levels in soil). The child care provider should also consider testing the property for radon, a naturally occurring gas that can sometimes occur at unsafe levels in buildings in Alaska.
  • Does the water source provide clean drinking water?
    Well water should be tested to ensure that it’s safe to drink particularly for sensitive populations such as babies, children, pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant.

Additional resources