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Study Finds High levels of Formaldehyde at California Daycares

Aired 10/26/12 on KPBS News.

A new study measuring indoor air pollution in California childcare centers found the majority had above recommended levels of formaldehyde. Levels of other indoor air pollutants were for the most part similar to the average home.

The study found eighty-seven percent of childcare centers had formaldehyde levels above California's guidelines for safe exposure. Formaldehyde can aggravate asthma, irritate the nose and throat and has been linked to a kind of throat cancer.

But study author Asa Bradman of UC Berkeley said the levels were not high enough to cause panic. He said scientists also found airborne chemicals from cleaning products and air-fresheners as well as ultrafine particles likely coming from gas stoves.

"For most of the chemicals we measured, there is no reference level or exposure standard we can compare to," explained Bradman. "A lot of chemicals have not been evaluated by either the federal government or the state.

Many of the air pollutants can be reduced by changing cleaning products and insecticides, and increasing ventilation when cooking with gas stoves

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