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Los Angeles Parents Gain Right-to-Know of Pesticide Applications in Children's Schools
(from September 27, 2002)

Every parent has gained a right to know of pesticide application to which their children may be exposed if they are enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District. At the beginning of the school year, parents are given a list of pesticide products that have been approved for use at LAUSD sites. Parents who wish advance notification of each pesticide application at their child's school will receive notification by completing the "Right to Know" form and sending it to the school Principal. Notification exceptions may occur under emergency circumstances that warrant an immediate response.

This right is part of a new policy adopted by LAUSD introduced by California Safe Schools. Called Integrated Pest Management (IPM) the policy pledges to implement least-toxic measures to control all pest management issues at LAUSD's hundreds of schools. The policy has become a model for school districts and communities' nationwide.

"As a parent, I am so grateful to California Safe Schools and LAUSD for their hard work in finding the least toxic and yet effective methods for controlling pests and weeds in our schools; for including parents and staff in the decision making process; and for the right to know about potentially harmful applications of pesticides/herbicides near our kids!" says Jenny Barsumian Brady, a Parent Representative for CSS.

Past failure to notify parents spurred the formation of LASSC and its campaign to get the school district to adopt the new policy. CSS Executive Director Robina Suwol's children walked through a toxic cloud at Sherman Oaks Elementary School one morning in 1998. The exposure resulted because an LAUSD gardener, in a white hazardous materials suit, arrived late to spray the herbicide Princep, which can cause serious health effects in human exposures, particularly in children, whose developing body systems may be more vulnerable than those of adults.

For more information, contact: Robina Suwol, Executive Director, California Safe Schools 818-785-5515, robinasuwol@calisafe.org.