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Utah APPLETREE Program

Utah Choose Safe Places

for Early Care and Education


Across the country, including Utah, child care and early education programs have been found in locations that could expose children and staff to environmental contamination. The Utah APPLETREE Program, in partnership with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), aims to reduce children's exposure to harmul environmental pollutants where they live, learn, and play by assisting with safe siting of early care and education facilities..


Click on the tabs below to learn more about Utah's Choose Safe Places program. We're here to help!

Why are children more sensitive to environmental pollution than adults?

Children routinely face hazards where they live, learn, and play. They may be exposed to harmful chemicals in the air they breath, the water they drink, or soil they touch or swallow. Children are also more sensitive to environmental pollutants because:

  • Children are still growing and developing, so they are uniquely susceptible to health threats from environmental exposures.
  • Children drink more water and breathe more air per unit body weight compared to adults.
  • Crawling and hand-to-mouth behavior can increase the amount of chemicals in their bodies.
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals as a child can have lifelong effects.
What is safe siting for child care centers?

Safe siting means locating child care centers in settings that are safe from hazardous contaminants that could be present at or near the property. Safe siting includes the analysis of:

  • Former site uses that might have left chemical hazards on the property.
  • Migration of harmful substances onto the site from nearby properties or activities.
  • Naturally occuring harmful substances.
  • Drinking water contamination.
  • Chemicals you use, like cleansers and sanitizing agents.


Learn more with the Utah Choose Safe Places Infographic.

Use ATSDR's Set It Up Safe Planning Tool to help you ensure that early care and education facilities are located in safe places, so that children and workers don't come into contact with harmful chemicals left over from former uses of a site, naturally occuring hazards, or contimination from nearby locations.

What is Utah's Choose Safe Places (UCSP) Program?

Utah's Choose Safe Places (UCSP) Program helps ensure that early care and education programs are located in safe places to protect the health of children where they learn and play.

Learn more about the Choose Safe Places Program by reading ATSDR's Partner Factsheet.

For more information or questions about Utah's Choose Safe Places Program, please email

How can I found out if there are harmful chemicals at my child care center?

Some harmful chemicals can be smelled or tasted, while others can't. The best thing to do is research the property.

  • Find out what the property was used for in the past, and whether any chemicals were used on the site.
  • Find out if any nearby businesses use chemicals.
  • Test for lead-based paint, asbestos, and radon.

The environmental risk questionnaire for child care center applicants can assist with common problems. The Utah APPLETREE Program is availble to help you identify potential issues, assess health risks, and keep children and staff safe.

How can Utah APPLETREE help you?

We provide:

  • Health information
  • Data review
  • Consultation
  • Recommendations

We cannot provide:

  • Sampling
  • Chemical testing
  • Cleanup
Is this required?

This is a voluntary program coordinated between the Utah APPLETREE Program and the Child Care Licensing Program. Our goal is to help you keep children safe.