Pesticides/National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Contact: Jay Feldman or John Kepner
|July 10, 2001||
Measure to Protect Children from Pesticides in Jeopardy in the House;
Historic Public Interest and Industry Agreement Threatened by House Agriculture Committee; Emergency Hearing Scheduled for July 18, 2001
Washington, DC, July 17, 2001 A Senate measure widely hailed as an historic agreement to protect children from pesticides used in schools nationwide may now be derailed by the House Agriculture Committee, which oversees pesticide law. The Committee has called an emergency hearing for Wednesday, July 18. The measure, the School Environment Protection Act of 2001 (SEPA) was included in the Senate Education Bill last month by unanimous consent. There is no similar language in the House Education Bill. The Senate measure grew out of a landmark agreement among groups representing parents, teachers, health professionals, environmentalists, pest management professionals and the chemical industry. It provides for the adoption of school pest management plans and notification and posting when certain pesticides applications are used.
Before the Senate voted to include SEPA in its education package, the Bush Administration opposed it.
The bill represents an important opportunity to ensure that every child across the country has access to an educational environment that is conducive to learning, without toxic chemicals in the air, said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides/National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides (NCAMP). This legislation requires schools to adopt integrated pest management (IPM) practices that minimize risk to children, utilize safer practices and provide safety information to parents and school staff when pesticides are used in the schools. Data show that IPM methods save schools money, according to supporters.
With regard to the three major programmatic components of the School Environment Protection Act (SEPA) -- posting, notification and integrated pest management (IPM) -- three states, including Maryland, Massachusetts and Michigan, have statutory requirements in all three areas. Nine states (Arizona, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington) require two of the three major components in SEPA. Six states (Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and West Virginia) require one component of SEPA. There is variation within each category. While ten states require both indoor and outdoor posting, two states require outdoor posting only and one state requires indoor posting only. Fifteen states require notification registries. Eight states require IPM, and three additional states recommend IPM.SEPA, as passed by the Senate, takes elements from the experience in over 30 states that have some program and creates a minimum standard of protection across the country, according to Mr. Feldman. The passage of this legislation will provide all children across the country with a basic level of protection, he said.