The new program, coordinated by the Oregon Environmental Council, helps eliminate potential sources of toxins in and around child-care centers, including lead in drinking water and old paint, pesticides used on lawns or inside buildings, mold, and poor indoor air. The Iris Valley Learning Center, a certified childcare center in Keizer with 13 employees serving nearly 100 children (pictured), is the first childcare facility to qualify as "Eco-Healthy," but in the next few months, OEC expects many more to follow in their footsteps.
Child-care providers apply by filling out a 25-item checklist. The program is supported by other organizations, including the American Lung Association of Oregon and Healthy Childcare Initiative of the Department of Human Services' Office of Family Health. OEC offers two programs for teachers to get students involved in environmental activities that will improve the health of their schools. These programs are free, and OEC provides tools and materials to help you get started.