Skip to main content
Oregon.gov Homepage

Toxins in Homes, Schools and Outdoor Environments

Children are more susceptible to toxins in the environment than adults because children eat more food, drink more water, and breathe more air in proportion to their body size. In addition, many of their systems are still under development and certain behaviors may put them at a higher risk for exposure.


Browse the categories below for links to web resources with detailed information and solutions for your family.

We have provided links to web resources that contain detailed information and solutions for you and your family.

Much of the information comes from the Oregon's Department of Human Services and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other local and national resources.

Overview of Toxins in the Home

  • The National Library of Medicine's Tox Town offers an introduction to toxic chemicals and environmental health risks you might encounter in everyday life and in everyday places. Visit the section on homes to learn more about healthy homes, chemicals in the home, and other home safety issues.
  • Children's Health Protection Website (EPA) - Get up-to-date information about potential threats to children's environmental health at home and learn about the steps parents can take to protect their children. Scientific data, regulations, and publications are also provided.

Toxic-Free Kids Act

The Toxic-Free Kids Act, passed in 2015, requires manufacturers of children's products sold in Oregon to report products that contain one or more high priority chemicals of concern for children's health, and ultimately remove these chemicals or seek a waiver.​ 


Lead

Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, visual-motor problems, lowered intelligence, and stunted growth. Dust from lead-based paint is the main source of lead poisoning, but lead can also be found in lead solder, household plumbing, soil around homes, ceramics or pottery, fishing weights and bullets, and folk medicines.


Drug Labs

Methamphetamine cooks use many toxic chemicals and the cooking process creates a residue of methamphetamine that coats all the surfaces of a property. If labs are not cleaned up properly then the public, and specifically children, are at high risk for coming into contact with these dangerous contaminants.

  • What is a meth lab? - Learn about the dangers, the signs to look for, and what to do if you suspect a lab in your neighborhood.

Pesticides

Pesticides can be beneficial, but they can be very dangerous to children if they are not used or stored properly. Learn more about what you can do to reduce exposure in your home.


Mold

Household mold is a environmental irritant that can cause respiratory irritation and can aggravate asthma and cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals and children are at a greater risk. Mold should be removed as soon as it is discovered, but it is important to note that mold rarely causes severe illness and is merely an indication of moisture problems in the home.


Radon

If a significant amount of radon is present in the soil on which your home is built, it can collect in higher-than-average levels in your home. Over time, exposure to high levels of radon increases a person's risk of developing lung cancer.


Drinking water

Learn about the sources of drinking water, how it is treated, and how everyday actions can affect the safety of our water supply.


Asthma

Approximately 64,000 children in Oregon have this chronic lung disease and it is the leading cause of school absences nationwide. Learn more about asthma, what triggers attacks, and how to help your child successfully manage this disease.


Secondhand Tobacco Smoke

Children exposed to secondhand smoke miss more days of school every year, are more likely to have asthma, and have a higher rate of respiratory infections. Babies exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).


Indoor Air

 Poor indoor air quality can create health problems for both children and adults.

  • Indoor Air Quality (EPA) - Learn about the the sources of indoor air pollution, the health effects, and how to improve indoor air quality.

Poison

Many of the products we use in and around our homes can be poisonous and children under the age of 5 are the most likely to be exposed to poisons, but teens and adults are also at risk.  


Building materials and consumer products

Many products and materials we use everyday can be toxic to children. Learn about these items and how to use them properly or replace them with safer options.

We have provided links to web resources that contain detailed information and solutions for you and your family.

Much of the information comes from the Oregon's Department of Human Services and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other local and national resources

Overview of Toxins in School

  • The National Library of Medicine's Tox Town offers an introduction to toxic chemicals and environmental health risks you might encounter in everyday life and in everyday places. Visit the section on schools to learn more about healthy schools, chemicals in school, and other school safety issues.
  • Children's Health Protection Website (EPA) - Get up-to-date information about potential threats to children's environmental health at school and learn about the steps parents can take to protect their children. Scientific data, regulations, and publications are also provided.

Pesticides

Pesticides can be beneficial, but they can be very dangerous to children if they are not used or stored properly. Learn more about what schools can do to reduces exposure in the classroom.


Asthma

Approximately 64,000 children in Oregon have this chronic lung disease and it is the leading cause of school absences nationwide. Learn more about asthma, what triggers attacks, and how to help your child successfully manage this disease while they are at school.

  • Asthma - Resources for people with asthma.

Indoor Air

Poor indoor air quality can create health problems for students, teachers, and administrators. Learn about the sources of indoor air pollution, the health effects, and how to improve indoor air quality. 


Diesel

Exposure to diesel can cause lung damage and exacerbate existing respiratory disease. 


Eco-friendly childcare and schools

Learn about programs that aim to improve the safety and health of children in these facilities.

  • Art and Creative Materials Institute's list of non-toxic art supplies - Oregon requires all public schools to purchase and use only those products that have been certifies by ACMI as non-toxic. This list is also recommended for use by private schools, home-schools, daycare facilities and public and private art associations. Learn more about the certification process and see a list of currently approved products.

We have provided links to web resources that contain detailed information and solutions for you and your family.

Much of the information comes from Oregon's Department of Human Services (DHS) and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other local and national resources.

Overview of Toxins in the Environment 

There are many chemical and environmental health risk that common in your child's environment.

  • The National Library of Medicine's Tox Town offers an introduction to toxic chemicals and environmental health risks you might encounter in everyday life and in everyday places.
  • Children's Health Protection Website (EPA) - Get up-to-date information about potential threats to children's environmental health in the outdoors and learn about the steps parents can take to protect their children. Scientific data, regulations, and publications are also provided.

Pesticides 

Pesticides can be beneficial, but they can be very dangerous to children if they are not used or stored properly. Adults who work on farms have an increased risk for exposure to pesticides and are likely to bring pesticide residue into the home where children can be exposed.


Hazardous Waste Sites 

An estimated 3 to 4 million American children live within one mile of at least one hazardous waste site and often have greater exposure and greater potential for health problems.


Fish Contaminants

Both fish you catch and the fish you buy at the store may contain contaminants that could harm you and your children.

  • Oregon's fish consumption guidelines - Learn about the the types and amounts of fish that should be eaten by children, pregnant women, and adults. This site also contains tips on how to safely prepare the fish you eat.

Blue-green Algae 

Algae blooms can produce toxins that can cause several health problems and children are at greater risk.


Beach Water Quality Information 

Exposure to increased levels of bacteria in marine water can lead to gastrointestinal illness, rashes, and respiratory infections. Children are at greater risk.


Diesel and other Air Quality Issues

Exposure to diesel and other air pollutants can cause serious health effects and exacerbate existing respiratory disease. 

​​

Your browser is out-of-date! It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how

×