Daily News Archive
Receive Poor Marks on Pesticide Policy Compliance
(Beyond Pesticides, July 1, 2004) According to a report
issued by Californians
for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs), most schools in Humboldt County,
in Northern California, are not complying with a state pesticide right-to-know
law. The report refers to the Healthy Schools Act of 2000, which requires
detailed record keeping of pesticide use, as well as notification of
pesticide use to parents who request it.
The three-year study found that while 21 of 32 school districts reported
using few or no pesticides, many schools' record keeping did not meet
state requirements. Most schools did not include the time, date, place
and reason they used chemicals to treat pests, and many did not realize
that they needed to report using products like Round Up (which contains
glyphosate, a potentially
hazardous chemical). "If the school isn't recording and releasing
those figures, how do we know what they're doing?" said Patty Clary,
the group's executive director, according to the Times-Standard.
CATs gave most school districts poor or failing grades for keeping records
and making them accessible to its researchers. Most schools also fared
poorly at drawing up pest management plans. Only one school district
received an overall A on the report. Clary said CATs is now working
with some schools to help them better understand the requirements of
the Healthy Schools Act.
Many schools routinely apply pesticides in classrooms, gyms, playgrounds,
cafeterias and offices and most schools do not have pesticide policies.
Pest management is unlikely to be a large part of a school's budget,
so many administrators do not focus on it and are likely to be uniformed.
Children are more sensitive to pesticides because of their physiology
and behavior; children take in more pesticides relative to body weight
than adults and have developing organ systems that are more vulnerable
and less able to detoxify toxic chemicals. The particular vulnerability
of children to the harmful effects of pesticides has garnered nationwide
attention over the past decade.
California does not have any state laws specifically restricting school
pesticide use, but the California Healthy School Act of 2000 recommends
schools to adopt an IPM policy in addition to its record-keeping requirements.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a program of prevention, monitoring,
and control that offers the opportunity to eliminate or drastically
reduce pesticides in schools, and to minimize the toxicity of and exposure
to any products that are used. 17 states require schools to implement
IPM. Find out what state
laws and local policies govern your school.
TAKE ACTION: If your school already has an
IPM program in place or other laws regarding pesticide use or right-to-know,
find out if they are complying. Work with your school to see what is
being done and what still needs to get done. Or, if your school does
not already have a program in place, contact Beyond
Pesticides to learn how to get
your school to adopt an IPM program by:
the school's pest management policy;
(2) Educating yourself and evaluating the program;
(3) Organizing the school community;
(4) Working with school decision-makers; and,
(5) Becoming a watchdog and establishing an IPM Committee