Who must obtain approval from the Department of Health (DOH)?
Child care centers and educational facilities must obtain an approval letter from the DOH if the facility meets any one of the following criteria:
- The center or educational facility is in a building constructed prior to 1979.
- The prior or current use of the building and/or property was/is used for industrial, storage, or other high hazard purpose. This includes being used as a nail salon, a dry cleaner or a gas station. These categories may be is classified as Groups B, S, F and H as defined by the Uniform Construction Code (UCC).
- The location is on a contaminated site or on a property where contamination is suspected.
- The center or educational facility is referred to the Department of Health (DOH) by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Children and Family (DCF), Department of Education, or local construction official (LCO), due to a prior use of the building or property which is of concern.
- The center or educational facility is co-located in a building with a dry cleaner and/or nail salon.
What is an Indoor Environmental Health Assessment (IEHA)?
An IEHA is an evaluation conducted to assess conditions inside a building which may impact the health of its occupants. The assessment must evaluate the whole indoor environment, not just indoor air. The use of air sampling alone must not be relied upon to conduct a thorough IEHA. The IEHA includes an evaluation of the historical uses and operations in the building as well as current activities which may impact the indoor environment. Additionally, child care centers or educational facilities that are co-located in a building or other structure that contains a dry cleaner or nail salon MUST obtain indoor air sampling results to demonstrate that there is no impact to the child care center or educational facility.
The Department of Health, Indoor Environments Program has developed forms which must be completed to evaluate the indoor environment to ensure that there are no health risks to the children or building occupants. These forms must be completed by a DOH-licensed Indoor Environmental Consultant.
Are all child care centers/educational facilities required to have an IEHA conducted?
Only child care centers or educational facilities that fall into the categories indicated above need an IEHA.
Do I have to pay a fee to the DOH when I renew my child care center license?
If the DCF has determined that your center needs to have DOH approval to renew your license, a fee to obtain a Safe Building Certificate will be required.
Do I have to have the DOH approve my center each time I renew my license?
The DCF will determine if your center needs to have the DOH evaluate your center when renewing your license. Generally, the DOH will need to review the environmental information for your center again if your center was required to have a DOH approval previously.
Do I need an IEHA when renewing my child care center license?
Most centers will not need to conduct a full IEHA at the time of renewal. Only areas that were of concern initially or where conditions have changed will need to be evaluated. When renewing your license, the DCF will determine if your center must obtain a Safe Building Certificate from the DOH.
If the DCF has determined that your center requires a DOH review, please contact the DOH before initiating any environmental work. At that time, the DOH will provide you with direction on the next step which must be taken.
What happens after completing the IEHA?
Once the assessment is complete and the consultant certifies that the IEHA meets all the regulatory requirements, it must be submitted to the DOH for review. Following the review, the DOH will conduct an inspection of your center and provide documentation that the facility has been approved.
Is sampling required to be performed as part of the IEHA?
Prior to contracting with a consultant to have an IEHA conducted, the DOH should be contacted to determine what, if any sampling should be performed.
- Sampling is not always required but may be necessary as part of the IEHA
- If sampling is performed, it should not be the first step in conducting the IEHA.
- Sampling should be performed if there is a concern that contaminants identified during the IEHA may be impacting the indoor environment of the child care center.
Sampling is not required but may be necessary as part of the IEHA. If sampling is performed, it should not be the first step in conducting the IEHA. Sampling should be performed if there is a concern that contaminants identified during the IEHA may be impacting the indoor environment of the child care center or educational facility. The sampling conducted must be based on the information obtained during the IEHA. Sampling may include wipe samples, dust samples, bulk samples or air samples. The environmental consultant will recommend the appropriate samples to be collected in order to assess the conditions in the building or complex.
Child care centers or educational facility that are co-located in a building or other structure that contains a dry cleaner or nail salon must obtain indoor air sampling to demonstrate that there is no impact to the facility.
For further information regarding IEHAs or the submission/review process, please contact the Indoor Environments Program by telephone or by e-mail.