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Daily News Archive
From June 6, 2001

Portland, Oregon School Board Adopts School Pest Management Policy

The grassroots group, Portland Parents for Alternatives to Pesticides (PPAS) announced that the Portland, Oregon Public Schools' (PPS) Board of Education unanimously approved a school pest management policy on May 21, 2001. The policy, although falls short of providing all the necessary levels for protecting children and school staff from pesticides applied at schools, does take some necessary first steps.

The policy requires the school district to:
§ implement an integrated pest management (IPM) policy that reduces and eliminates, where feasible, the use of pesticides and seeks practical alternatives to the use of pesticides;
§ prohibit the use of pesticides classified as known or likely carcinogens;
§ prohibit the use of pesticides for aesthetic purposes;
§ pre-notify the school community by notice and posting (pest infestation that poses an imminent risk to students and staff are exempt);
§ develop an annual report on its pest management practices; and,
§ honor a school's request to designate part or all of the grounds as a pesticide-free zone, unless the health or safety of the community or integrity of structures or grounds are threatened.

PPAS worked for over a year to get the policy adopted. Although the original policy focused on minimizing pesticide use in the schools, contained specific provisions for posting and notification, and included prohibitions on the use of high hazard pesticides, such as neurotoxins, reproductive toxins, pesticides with high acute toxicity, and chemicals listed as hazardous under the Community Right to Know Act, school district staff withdrew these sections when it came time for the board vote.

"While the policy as adopted falls considerably short of our hopes, PPAP expects to continue to be involved in pushing for the strongest possible implementation," states Becky Riley of PPAS.

The tools and experience to control school pests without using toxic chemicals are available nationwide and have proven to be effective and economical. Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP has identified over a hundred schools and school districts from around the country that are implementing alternatives to conventional hazardous pesticides and, thus, prove that alternatives work. For Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP's information on local school pest management policies, go to http://www.beyondpesticides.org/local_school.html or contact Kagan Owens, Program Director at kowens@beyondpesticides.org.

For more information on the Portland School Board pesticide policy contact Becky Riley, Portland Parents for Alternatives to Pesticides, at briley@efn.org.