Environmental Concerns in Child Care Settings


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THIS WEBINAR HAS BEEN POSTPONED. A future date will be announced later.

Friday, March 20, 2020 | 2 p.m. ET/ 1 p.m. CT/ Noon MT/ 11 a.m. PT

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For young children in the United States, almost half (40%) spend their days in licensed child care facilities. States have enacted laws and policies to limit environmental hazards and promote better health and safety in child care settings. In 13 states, facilities are required to perform environmental tests for issues such as lead-based paint, lead in water, asbestos and radon. More than 40 states require fire, health or building code inspections.


After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

  • Kim Tyrrell, environment program director, NCSL
  • CAPT Tarah Somers RN, MSN/MPH Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

CAPT Tarah S. Somers is a Commissioned Officer stationed with ATSDR since 2001. She started with ATSDR in Atlanta, then moved to the ATSDR Washington DC office and is currently the Regional Director for ATSDR Region 1 in Boston.  Throughout her career, CAPT Somers has worked to help protect people from environmental exposures. As a nurse by background, CAPT Somers translates complicated environmental exposure risk assessments into actionable information that community members can easily understand. CAPT Somers is a champion and subject matter expert for the Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education program at ATSDR.  She is the lead author on the soon to be released Choose Safe Places Disaster Recovery Supplement. This work focuses on keeping children safe from environmental exposures during disaster recovery.  As a professional and a mom, CAPT Somers is certain work done now can prevent harmful environmental exposures to children to keep them healthy now and in the future.  

  • Dr. Sharee Rusnak, ScD, MSPH (Connecticut Department of Public Health)

Sharee M. Rusnak is an environmental epidemiologist with the Environmental and Occupational Health Assessment Program at the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CTDPH). She has worked for the CTDPH for 18 years as part of a state cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), an agency within the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Dr. Rusnak received her Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Biomedical Engineering, her Master of Science in Public Health in Regulatory Toxicology and Risk Assessment, and her Doctor of Science in Environmental Toxicology from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Rusnak’s program is responsible for performing public health evaluations for waste sites as part of the ATSDR cooperative agreement. She is also the project coordinator for the Connecticut Childcare Screening Assessment for Environmental Risk Program or ‘SAFER’ Program. 

  • Jamie Pritchett, MTox (North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services)

Jamie Pritchett is a program coordinator and toxicologist for the North Carolina Division of Public Health. His work focuses on public health impacts from environmental exposures, primarily near hazardous waste sites. Through this work, he has developed a program in North Carolina to prevent environmental exposures at child care centers and has been working with communities impacted by PFAS contamination since 2017. Jamie has worked for the state of North Carolina since March 2016. He received his Master's in Toxicology from NC State University in May 2015. Prior to working for the state, he worked in vaccine development for 4 years at Duke University Medical Center.