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Common Bug Killers Used in Homes Persist for Over a Year

Friday, July 7th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2017) The active ingredients in commonly used bug sprays such as RAID leave significant residues that persist for over a year in the home, according to a study published by Brazilian researchers in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The pesticides tested, synthetic pyrethroids, have been linked to a range of health effects, most notably in children. The results of this study add to calls for homeowners to rethink a chemical-based approach to home pest control, in favor of simple, non-toxic practices. In the recent study, researchers compared the breakdown time of two synthetic pyrethroids, cypermethrin and beta-cyfluthrin, between laboratory conditions and those in an average home. Under lab conditions, with temperature controlled and without sunlight or ventilation, both active ingredients broke down little within the 112 day test period observed. However, the test house, where insecticides were applied according to indoor label conditions, displayed breakdown times similar to the lab results during the first 112 days. Researchers continued their observation of pyrethroids in the home for up to a year, finding after that period 44% of beta-cyfluthrin and 70% cypermethrin remained in household dust samples from the singular, original application. A 2014 study published by […]

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Health Canada Moves to Limit Exposure to Boric Acid Pesticides

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2016)  Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced this week it will cancel certain  formulations  of boric acid-based pesticides. The announcement reflects the latest science showing that certain products, such as those in dust formulations or open baits, put residents at inhalation and ingestion exposure risk, respectively, to the naturally occurring element  boron and borate compounds. PRMA’s decision  is part of the Health Canada’s registration review of boric acid, which, like that of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is conducted every 15 years. PRMA is cancelling the following uses of boric acid and similar compounds All domestic dust formulation products All domestic granular formulation products Domestic solution formulation products, with the exception of enclosed bait stations and spot treatment with gel formulations For other uses, PRMA has amended label requirements to better protect handlers and users of the pesticide. For example, the agency will update label directions to specify that boron products can only be applied to areas inaccessible to children and pets. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health in Canada said in a press release, “even natural ingredients like boric acid can pose a risk to Canadians. That’s why Health Canada looks at all […]

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Pyrethroid Pesticide Use Increases Rates of ADHD in Adolescent Boys in New Study

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides June 4, 2015) Another study has found links between a commonly used household pesticide and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and young teens. Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found an association between pyrethroid pesticide exposure and ADHD, particularly in terms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. These results reinforce the findings of a study led by a research team at Rutgers University earlier this year that found links between the pesticide deltamethrin and ADHD. In 2001, over concerns about adverse health consequences, the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency banned several commonly used organophosphate (organic compounds containing phosphorus) pesticides from residential use due to the chemicals neurotoxic properties. The ban led to the increased use of pyrethroid pesticides, which are now the most commonly used pesticides for residential pest control and public health purposes. Pyrethroids, like deltamethrin, are commonly used in the home,  office buildings,  and on vegetable crops, gardens, lawns and golf courses. This shift to predominantly using pyrethroids is troubling, as they have oft been promoted as a safer choice than banned organophosphates, despite the fact that they pose many real threats to human health. Many recent studies show significant concern with this class of chemicals, […]

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Commonly Used Pyrethroid Pesticide Increases Risk of ADHD

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2015) A study led by a Rutgers University research team finds that the commonly used pesticide deltamethrin increases the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, adding to a mounting body of scientific research linking pesticide exposure to the disorder. Rutgers scientists, along with colleagues from Emory University, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Wake Forest University discovered that mice exposed to the pyrethroid insecticide deltamethrin in utero and through lactation exhibit several features of ADHD, including dysfunctional dopamine signaling in the brain, hyperactivity, working memory, attention deficits and impulsive-like behavior. The study, Developmental pesticide exposure reproduces features of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was published Wednesday in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). ADHD is estimated to affect 8—12% of school-age children worldwide. ADHD is a complex disorder, and though is strong scientific evidence that genetics play a role in susceptibility to the disorder, no specific gene has been found that causes ADHD and scientists believe that environmental factors, such as pesticide exposure, may contribute to the development of the behavioral condition. “Although we can’t change genetic susceptibility to ADHD, there may be modifiable environmental factors, including […]

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Behavioral and Emotional Problems in Children Linked to Insecticide Exposure

Friday, November 1st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2013) Insecticides commonly used in homes and schools are associated with behavioral problems in children, according to a recent study by Canadian researchers. The study investigates exposure to pyrethroid pesticides, used in more than 3,500 products, including flea and tick controls, cockroach sprays, and head lice controls. The study, Urinary metabolites of organophosphates and pyrethroid pesticides and behavioral problems in Canadian children, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, raises serious concerns about the impact of pyrethroids, which are increasingly used as a replacement for organophosphates. This study uses data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (2007-2009), a nationally representative survey, so researchers are able to apply these findings to the entire population of Canadian children. In a previous study among U.S. children, researchers at the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) examined the metabolites of pyrethroids in children below the age of six. Similarly, they found pyrethroid insecticides in more than 70 percent of the samples, concluding that children had significantly higher metabolite concentrations than those of adolescents. Together these studies demonstrate that exposure is widespread, with real impacts to human health. In the recent study, researchers analyzed organophosphate and pyrethroid metabolites in the […]

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Elevated Pesticide Exposure Documented in New York City Residents

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 3, 2013) According to new research, residents are more highly exposed to organophosphate and pyrethroid pesticides in New York City (NYC) than in the U.S. overall.  Researchers from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reviewed the 2004 NYC Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NYC HANES) to compare its pesticide exposure patterns in an urban environment with the nation as a whole. The NYC HANES includes a biomonitoring component to evaluate pesticide exposures by measuring concentrations of organophosphate and pyrethroid metabolites in urine. According to the authors, the findings underscore the importance of considering pest and pesticide burdens on cities, where a dense population results in a single exposure source affecting many people at the same time when regulating pesticide use. Organophosphate metabolites were measured in the urine of 882 New Yorkers, while 1,452 residents were tested for pyrethroid metabolites. As the researchers explain, the building density and disrepair in parts of NYC likely increased the chances of a pest infestation, which in turn can lead to the reliance on indoor pesticide use. By the 1980’s, organophosphates were the most common class of insecticides in the U.S., and were used indoors until the early 2000’s when […]

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EU Proposes More Pesticide Restrictions to Protect Bees

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2013) A few months after the groundbreaking decision to suspend the use of three neonicotinoids shown to be highly toxic to bees, the European Commission is moving forward again with a proposal to restrict the use of the insecticide fipronil, which has also   been identified as posing an acute risk to honey bees. The proposal is backed by a Member State experts meeting in the Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health. This proposal follows a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)  scientific risk assessment, published on May 27, 2013, which found that seeds treated with pesticides containing fipronil pose an acute risk to Europe’s honey bee population. According to this assessment, it was found that fipronil poses a high acute risk to honeybees when used as a seed treatment for corn. Specifically, EFSA concluded that high acute risk from dust drift resulting from treated corn exists, and identified several data gaps and study limitations for other field crops. Data on nectar and pollen could not be evaluated. 23 Member States supported the fipronil restriction, 2 Member States voted against and 3 Member States abstained during the standing committee vote. This latest EU-wide restriction comes […]

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Pesticides in Air a Risk To Pregnant Women, Unborn Children

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2012) A Texas border study has found that air samples in the homes of pregnant Hispanic women contain multiple household pesticides that could harm fetuses and young children. The first study of its kind conducted by the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, finds traces of both household and agricultural pesticides that have been linked to disorders such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The researchers sampled air in 25 households, finding at least five pesticides in 60 percent of the dwellings. Nine other pesticides were identified in less than one-third of the homes. All the women were in the third trimester of pregnancy, when the fetal brain undergoes a growth spurt. Numerous studies have reported birth defects and developmental problems when fetuses and infants are exposed to pesticides, especially exposures that adversely affect mental and motor development during infancy and childhood. This new report is in the summer issue of the Texas Public Health Journal sent to members this week. The study found 92 percent of air samples contained o-phenylphenol, which is used as a fungicide, germicide and household disinfectant, while 80 percent of samples contained chlorpyrifos, […]

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Research Shows Structural IPM Confronts Pests and Reduces Pesticides

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, February 3, 2012) A new study recently published in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management (JIPM) shows that from 2003 to 2008 the use of insecticide active ingredients was reduced by about 90% in University of Florida (UF) housing buildings after an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program was implemented. The results of the study show that pest pressure was effectively managed throughout this period as well. These findings demonstrate that IPM can be an effective management tool for institutional pest problems, confronting pests while reducing human exposure to dangerous chemicals. IPM is a systematic approach to managing pests based on long-term prevention or suppression by a variety of methods that are cost effective and minimize risks to human health and the environment. The goal of urban IPM is to manage pests primarily by prevention and elimination of their access to food, water and harborages, exclusion techniques that seal entryways, as well as changes in human behavior. Low-toxicity insecticides were used only when necessary. In their article “Advancement of Integrated Pest Management in University Housing,” the JIPM authors find that the IPM program helps to virtually eliminate the use of hydramethylnon, borate, desiccants, organophosphates, fipronil, and pyrethroids, and they […]

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Take Action: EPA Proposes Expansion of Neurotoxic Pyrethroid Uses

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2012) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed an expansion in pyrethrins/pyrethroid insecticide uses as part of its cumulative risk assessment for this neurotoxic class of chemicals. In the cumulative risk assessment, EPA concludes that pyrethroids “do not pose risk concerns for children or adults,” ignoring a wealth of independent data that links this class of chemicals to certain cancers, respiratory and reproductive problems, and the onset of insect resistance. It went as far as to state that its cumulative assessment supports consideration of registering additional new uses of these pesticides, potentially opening the flood gates for manufacturers to bombard the market with more pyrethroid pesticides, endangering the health of the public. The agency is accepting public comments through February 8, 2012. Tell EPA that it has ignored numerous health effects and that these pesticides do pose unacceptable risks to human health given the availability of alternatives. Submit comments directly to the EPA docket or sign-on to Beyond Pesticides’ comments. In its comments to EPA, Beyond Pesticides states: There are several major concerns and flaws plaguing this cumulative assessment, which therefore does not meet the regulatory burden in fully evaluating synthetic pyrethroids’ effect on public and […]

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EPA Releases Pyrethroid Risk Assessment, Ignores Numerous Health Effects

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, November 16, 2011) On November 9, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its cumulative risk assessment for the pyrethroid class of insecticides, concluding that these pesticides “do not pose risk concerns for children or adults,” ignoring a wealth of independent data that links this class of chemicals to certain cancers, respiratory and reproductive problems, and the onset of insect resistance. The agency went as far to state that its cumulative assessment supports consideration of registering additional new uses of these pesticides, potentially opening the flood gates for manufacturers to bombard the market with more pyrethroid pesticides, endangering the health of the public. EPA issued the final pyrethins/pyrethroid cumulative risk assessment in the Federal Register and is requesting comment until January 9, 2011, including information that may be used to further refine the assessment. Pyrethroids are a widely used class of insecticides used for mosquito control and various insects in residential and agricultural settings. However pyrethroids are highly neurotoxic and have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, suppression of the immune system, and various reproductive effects. This class of chemicals includes permethrin, bifenthrin, resmethrin, cyfluthrin and scores of others. Read Beyond Pesticides’ factsheet “Syntethic Pyrethroids.” Once the […]

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Stores Fined for Selling Mislabeled and Unregistered Pesticides

Monday, September 20th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2010) California-based discount retailer 99 Cents Only Stores Inc. has been fined over $400,000 for selling three household products containing unregistered or mislabeled pesticides. It is the largest contested penalty ever handed down by EPA. According to EPA, the retailer continued to sell the products even after being notified that they were violating regulations. EPA found 99 Cents Only Stores were selling products in violation of the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) during a routine inspection in 2004. Subsequent inspections up until 2008 found additional problems resulting in a total of 166 separate violations. Originally. EPA handed down a $1 million fine. 99 Cents Only Stores Inc decided to contest the penalty. These types of fines are rarely contested. In the end, EPA Administrative Law Judge Susan Biro ruled the company would pay a fine of $409,490, declaring the retailer’s management had a “culture of indifference.” Of the 166 violations committed by 99 Cents Only stores Inc., 164 were related to a household cleaner and sanitizer imported from Mexico called Bref Limpieza y Disinfeccion Total con Densicloro which translates into “Bref Complete Cleaning and Disinfection with Densicloro.” The product had pesticidal claims on the […]

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New Jersey Town Adopts Policy to Significantly Reduce Pesticide Use

Monday, October 19th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, October 19, 2009) The “green” movement continues to sprout throughout New Jersey, as Hamilton Township joins other municipalities in the state that have made their parks pesticide-free zones and have adopted an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program for managing town property. Responding to the request of local members of the New Jersey Environmental Federation, Hamilton Township recently passed a resolution adopting the Federation’s model pesticide reduction policy. The policy establishes Pesticide Free Zones for 50 feet surrounding township playgrounds, picnic grounds, pavilions and rest areas, dog parks and ballfields, as well as 300 feet from any stream bank, pond, lake or natural wetland. It also requires the implementation of an IPM program for all township buildings and grounds. Hamilton Mayor John F. Bencivengo endorsed the policy, stating that it is a great way to educate the public about pesticide use, and ensure that the township continues on its path of “pesticide free zones” in its parks, municipal building and library. Schools in New Jersey are already required by law to follow IPM plans using non-toxic methods first and conventional pesticides only if the non-toxic methods are ineffective. “It is easy to manage a lawn without harmful chemical pesticides,” […]

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Preventive Practices Work Best to Control Cockroaches

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2009) An analysis of the New York City Public Housing system’s pest management practices finds that a combination of preventive management practices and least toxic pesticide options are more effective than conventional chemical-dependent practices.The analysis finds that integrated pest management (IPM)practices with a focus on sealing cracks and proper sanitation, coupled with boric acid controls cockroaches better than chemical approaches. The study, entitled “Effectiveness of an Integrated Pest Management Intervention in Controlling Cockroaches, Mice and Allergens in New York City Public Housing,” finds that apartments utilizing integrated pest management (IPM) measures have significantly lower counts of cockroaches at three months and greater success in reducing or sustaining low counts of cockroaches at three (75 percent decline) and six months (88 percent decline). IPM was associated with a more than 50 percent drop in cockroach allergen levels in kitchens at three months, and in beds and kitchens at six months. In contrast, the number of cockroaches in buildings receiving professional exterminator visits every three to six months increased slightly. Pesticide use was reduced in apartments using IPM relative to apartments with chemical practices in place. Residents of IPM apartments also rated building services more positively. The researchers […]

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New York Governor Sets Pesticide-Free Goal for State Parks

Monday, May 4th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, May 4, 2009) Targeting areas frequented by children, such as playgrounds, picnic areas, baseball fields, campgrounds, beaches, and hiking trails, New York Governor David A. Paterson announced an initiative to substantially reduce pesticide use throughout the State park system. “New York has a magnificent State park system that is a tremendous resource for all New Yorkers,” said Governor Paterson. “People visiting our parks, particularly children, should not be exposed to pesticides. This effort will reduce or, when possible, eliminate the use of pesticides in our State parks and historic sites.” The pesticide reduction policy is an outgrowth of Governor Paterson’s Executive Order No. 4, adopted in April 2008, which established procurement specifications to minimize State pesticide use by State agencies. The State Parks policy goes further than the Executive Order requirements by eliminating pesticide use to the maximum extent possible. The goal is to keep parks pesticide-free. The approach is outlined in the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s Sustainability Plan, an agency-wide strategy to improve energy conservation, improve the sustainability of parks and historic sites, improve waste reduction and recycling efforts, enhance green procurement, and incorporate sustainability in education, training and interpretation efforts. “Now that the […]

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New Study Finds “Single Visit” IPM Successful in NYC Public Housing

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2009) According to a new study by the New York City (NYC) Department of Health, Columbia University and the NYC Housing Authority published in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives on April 15, 2009, “single visit” integrated pest management (IPM) at the building level (rather than individual rental units) is more successful than regular pesticide applications in managing public housing pests and allergens. The study, “Effectiveness of an Integrated Pest Management Intervention in Controlling Cockroaches, Mice and Allergens in New York City Public Housing,” is available online. The NYC Housing Authority is the largest public housing owner in North America with more than 405,000 low-income residents. The successful implementation of IPM in an institution of this size was thought to offer many potential benefits; pesticide use reduction, improved pest management and reduced pest and allergen burdens in housing populated by largely African American and Latino families with a disproportionately high prevalence of asthma. Following a successful pilot program in public housing, the NYC Department of Health and Housing Authority developed an IPM intervention designed to be simple, low-cost and relatively easily scaled. In buildings participating in the study, Housing Authority IPM teams spent 8-12 person-hours […]

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26th New Jersey Township Adopts Pesticide-Free Policy

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2009) As part of the Township of Bernards, New Jersey’s new Pesticide Management System Resolution that designates pesticide-free zones and requires adoption of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program for all its municipal grounds, the mayor and town council are also asking its citizens to adopt such measures on their own property. The resolution preface states, “[S]cientific studies associate exposure to pesticides with asthma, cancer, development and learning disabilities, nerve an immune system damage, liver or kidney damage, reproductive impairment, birth defects and disruption of the endocrine system, and ”¦ infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems and chemical sensitivities are especially vulnerable to pesticide effects and exposure, and ”¦ lawn pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are harmful to pests, wildlife, soil microbiology, plants, and natural ecosystems and can run off into streams, lakes and drinking water sources ”¦” Pesticide-free zones include playgrounds, picnic grounds and pavilion/rest areas, and the area 50 feet around each of these sites, as well as dog park/runs, pool areas and ball fields. Pesticide-free zones also include all waterways and a 300 foot buffer around any stream bank, pond, lake or natural wetland. According to the township’s […]

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Pesticide Exposure Kills Woman, Three Years Later EPA Files Complaint

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2008) The U.S. EPA has filed an administrative complaint, seeking a maximum penalty of only $4,550, against a pest control company that sprayed pesticides in a couple’s home, causing the wife to die shortly thereafter. It has been more than three years since the incident took place in Florence, Oregon. Swanson’s Pest Management of Eugene, Oregon sent an employee to a home on June 29, 2005 to apply Conquer Residential Insecticide Concentrate, active ingredient esfenvalerate, and ULD BP-100 Contact Insecticide, active ingredient pyrethrin. The couple returned to their home two and a half hours later and immediately fell to the ground due to the fumes. Paramedics were called in and they too experienced respiratory distress or became ill when they entered the treated home. According to The Oregonian, Florence Kolbeck was 76 years old and died of cardiac arrest as a result of the exposure. Her husband, Fred, was hospitalized for respiratory distress. The complaint was filed following a review of Swanson’s use of the two pesticides, finding that the company failed to properly ventilate the home prior to the occupants re-entering, and improperly applied Conquer as a “space spray” at nearly three times the allowable […]

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Pyrethroid Pesticides Found in Homes and Daycare Centers

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, November 3, 2008) A new study, Pyrethroid pesticides and their metabolites in vacuum cleaner dust collected from homes and day-care centers (doi:10.1016/j.envres.2008.07.022), by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Exposure Research Laboratory finds concentrations of 13 synthetic pyrethroids and their degradates in indoor dust collected from homes and childcare centers in North Carolina and Ohio. The study results show the extent to which hazardous pesticides are present in indoor environments and threaten the public’s health, especially the health of children. With 85 vacuum cleaner bags analyzed, permethrin was present in all 85 dust samples, at least one pyrethroid pesticide was found in 69 samples and phenothrin was found in 36 samples. According to the study findings published in the November issue of the journal Environmental Research, the median concentration of permethrin in the samples is 1454ng/g of dust. Excluding permethrin, pyrethroid conectrations are less than or equal to 100ng/g of dust. The majority of the metabolites are present in more than half of the dust samples. This is not the first time researchers have found pesticides in dust in homes. A study published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health (208: 193-199) also found that […]

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NJ Community Adopts Indoor IPM, Parks Go Pesticide-Free

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2008) Citing concerns over the impact of pesticides on health and the environment, the Voorhees, NJ Township Committee approved Resolution 126-08, Township of Voorhees Pesticide Reduction Policy, on April 28, 2008 to stop hazardous pesticide use. The New Jersey Township has adopted Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as the pest control policy and strategy to be used in the maintenance of the township’s public properties and buildings, and township parks are pesticide free posted with “Pesticide Free Zone” ladybug signs.The National Center for Environmental Health Strategies, which proposed the resolution, will be working with the township’s pest control contractor on an IPM plan for township buildings to continue to eliminate or significantly reduce the use of hazardous pesticides. The guidance will in part be based on the New Jersey School IPM Law (S. 137, adopted September 26, 2002), which requires that after non-chemical means of pest control have been considered and exhausted and conventional pesticide use is deemed necessary, preference be given to using a pesticide that is classified “low impact.” Low impact pesticides according to the New Jersey School IPM Law include a first category of pesticides or substances that are U.S. EPA exempt from regulation […]

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Pesticides on Back-to-School Agenda

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

(Beyond Pesticides, September 6, 2007) As children head back to school, Beyond Pesticides urges parents and school staff to ask school administrators to adopt non-chemical practices that protect children from pests and pesticides. Studies consistently link many pesticides to adverse health effects that affect children’s respiratory system and their ability to learn. See Beyond Pesticides’ website for documentation on adverse effects of pesticides and children’s health. Parents are urged to bring the “For my child’s health please do not spray pesticides in school” postcard to the school nurse with other health information and medicine, such as inhalers. Postcards are available from Beyond Pesticides or on the Beyond Pesticides website. The back-to-school season and talk of pesticide use brings with it debate on appropriate integrated pest management (IPM) practices. Because of a lack of an agreed upon definition, IPM is often promoted with a lack of clarity and an unnecessary reliance on toxic chemicals, according to health and safety advocates. Beyond Pesticides advocates IPM for school buildings with a clear definition containing eight essential program components: education/training, monitoring, action thresholds, prevention, least-toxic tactics criteria, notification, recordkeeping, and evaluation. Proper IPM is discussed in detail in a Beyond Pesticides report, Ending Toxic […]

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