Kids' Corner/Parents' Place

Toxic Mansion

Your house is contaminated with a hazard that is making at least one person sick. As a Junior CSI (Contamination Scene Investigator) in training, your job is to identify the hazard and its source. Awards and recognitions are based upon the accuracy, speed and thriftiness of the player.


  1. The goal of the game is to correctly identify the hazard and the source in the shortest amount of time while spending the least amount of money. Your total expenses and elapsed time are indicated at the bottom right of the game screen. The list of possible answers is under the "Answer" button. You must get both the "Hazard" and its "Source" to be correct. If you get the wrong answer, it costs you $100!

  2. You are provided with the following sources of information to guide you in your investigation:
    • Opening page introductory information (FREE);
    • "View the timeline of the house" and the people involved (FREE);
    • "Information -> Hazard Information" on the possible hazards involved (FREE): Clicking on the buttons provides the following hazard information:
      1. Route(s) of Entry for the hazard;
      2. Description of the hazard;
      3. Illness(es) caused by hazard;
      4. Sources of the hazard;
      5. Signs and Symptoms of exposure;
      6. Target Organs affected
      7. Control Methods;
      8. Doctor's Tests;
      9. Air Sampling information;
      10. Dust Sampling information;
      11. Paint Sampling information; and
      12. Soil Sampling information.
    • "Information ->Home/Neighborhood Information" (FREE): Clicking on the buttons provides the following information:
      1. house Description;
      2. Year Built;
      3. heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) type;
      4. time HVAC Last Inspected;
      5. type of Hot Water Heater;
      6. type of Stove;
      7. source of Water;
      8. presence and location of Carbon Monoxide Monitor(s);
      9. presence and location of Fire Detector(s);
      10. type of Windows;
      11. type of Siding;
      12. type of Roof;
      13. type of Attic insulation;
      14. description of Mr. and Mrs. Martinez's bedroom (Bedroom 1)
      15. description of Tom's bedroom (Bedroom 2);
      16. description of the Living Room;
      17. description of the Dining Room;
      18. description of Bathroom 1;
      19. description of Bathroom 2;
      20. description of the Den;
      21. description of the Garage;
      22. description of the Attic; and
      23. description of the Yard.
    • "People" in the home information($): By clicking on each family member's picture and subsequent menu option, you can select from among the following choices:
      1. Background Information (General Background, Health Status, Previous Health Issues, Habits and Schedule) at $5 per request; and
      2. Medical Information (Doctor's Notes and Medical Test Results) at $20 per request.
      If a test can not be performed or makes no sense, it is identified as NA (Not Applicable).

    • By clicking on the house at the top right of the screen, you can take a visual tour of Mr. and Mrs. Martinez's Bedroom, Tom's Bedroom and the Kitchen (FREE). Only three rooms are available. Move the cursor around the room to identify highlighted areas or enlarge objects for closer examination. Highlighted areas indicate where you can choose to order tests for possible hazards ($10 per sample) as additional clues to help you solve the mystery.
    • "Clues" ($25 per clue): There are 10 additional hints that will help you solve the problem.
    • "Test Results"(FREE): This page contains a summary of the sampling and medical tests you have ordered and collected.

  3. Strategies for playing the game:
    • It is helpful if you take written notes during your investigation.
    • Pay attention to the introductory information and the timeline as this information is important.
    • There is no best path to find the answer.
    • Click through all of the bottoms (except those that cost you money) to get familiar with all of the information available.
    • First, identify what health problems people are having.
    • Next, review the hazard information.
    • Next, try to identify the hazard that is most likely causing the health problems. This may be done by looking at the medical tests, comparing the health problems to the effects caused by the hazard, or taking samples in the rooms. Always compare medical test and sampling test results to standards to indicate where there might be a problem.
    • Only after you have collected enough information and you think you have a sound hypothesis do you try to identify the answer.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this activity, students and parents will be able to:

  1. List common health hazards, their health effects and their sources in the home;
  2. Choose appropriate medical and hazard sampling tests and interpret their results;
  3. Analyze information about health problems, hazards and people who are exposed to the hazards in order to identify the hazard and its source that is causing the health problems.
Click on the "Go to the Activity" button to start.              

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The Center for School and Community Health Education (CSCHE) is an outreach component of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Public Health (UMDNJ-SPH) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Center of Excellence at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI). UMDNJ-SPH is sponsored by UMDNJ in cooperation with Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and the New Jersey Institute of Technology and in collaboration with the Public Health Research Institute. EOHSI is jointly sponsored by UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.