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Illinois and California Pass Bills to Strengthen Protection of Children from Pesticides
(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2003)
Building on existing pesticide reform laws, Illinois and California lawmakers are moving to provide their state's children with more protection from pesticide poisoning. The legislation in Illinois, which passed both Houses of the legislature, expands the mandate to practice Integrated Pest Management and restrict pesticide exposure, and the California bill, which is headed for the Senate after passing the Assembly, would restrict the use of highly toxic pesticides in schools.

The Illinois bill, SB 1079, which flew through the legislature on May 14, 2003 and is headed for the Governor's desk, offers protection for children attending daycare centers. With this legislation in place, licensed daycare centers in Illinois will be required to practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and to notify parents at least two days, and not more than 30 days, in advance of pesticide applications.

Under SB 1079, licensed childcare facilities must ensure that pesticides will not be applied when children are present at the facility. Toys and other items mouthed or handled by children will be removed from the treatment area before pesticides are applied. Children are prohibited from returning to the treated area within two hours of a pesticide application or as specified on the pesticide label, whichever time is greater. The notification requirements do not apply to anti-microbial agents or baits containing insecticides or rodenticides. Illinois already has a law requiring public elementary and secondary schools in the state to implement IPM and provide prior notification of pesticide applications.

California's Healthy Schools Act of 2003, AB 1006, passed the California Assembly on May 19, 2003. Sponsored by Judy Chu, the bill would prohibit all public schools from using pesticide products:

(1) with the highest acute toxicity as defined by EPA Toxicity Categories I and II;
(2) containing N-methyl-carbamate, neurotoxic organophosophorus compounds, or pyrethoids;
(3) containing active ingredients rated by EPA as known, probable or possible human carcinogen or listed on the state's Proposition 65 known carcinogen list;
(4) containing active ingredients that cause birth defects, reproductive harm, or developmental harm as identified by EPA or listed pursuant to Proposition 65; and,
(5) applied by fogging, bombing, tenting, broadcasting, or baseboard spraying.

California already has a law, passed in 2000, requiring notification of pesticide use to school staff, parents and student. While this right-to-know legislation is extremely important, a policy that actually reduces toxic pesticide use goes even further.

For additional information on the Illinois daycare bill, contact Julie Dick, Safer Pest Control Project, at 312-759-8267 or jdick@bpichicago.org. For a copy of the bill, see http://www.legis.state.il.us/ and select "Bills and Resolutions" and search for SB 1079.

For more information on California's pesticide ban bill, AB 1006, contact Emily Heath, Californians for Pesticide Reform, at 415-981-3939 or at eheath@igc.org, or contact Yana Kucher, Environment California, at 213-251-3688 or at ykucher@environmentcalifornia.org. For a copy of the bill, go to http://www.assembly.ca.gov, select "Legislation," and search for AB 1006.

For information on other state school pesticide laws, see the Schooling of State Pesticide Laws. For information on integrated pest management, see Beyond Pesticides' school IPM page and a new report highlighting 27 school districts and individual schools across the country that are successfully implementing IPM programs.