School Pesticide Reform Coalition
Learning Starts With A Healthy Environment
701 E Street SE #200, Washington, DC 20003 - 202-543-5450 -
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Agricultural Resources Center

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Environment California

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IPM Institute of North America

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MN Children's Health Environment Coalition

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New York Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

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Pennsylvania Clean Water Action

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Texans for Alternatives to Pesticides

Toxics Action Center (MA)

Vermont Public Interest Research Group

Virginia Health and Environment Project

Washington Toxics Coalition


The School Pesticide Reform Coalition advocates for every child's and school employee's right to an environmentally healthy school. The Coalition works to protect children's and the general public's health by supporting nationwide grassroots action and focusing local, state and national attention on the reduction and, where possible, the elimination of pesticide use at schools. Please sign a proclamation for the protection of school children from pests and pesticides. Sign the Protocol.

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A Proclamation for the Protection of Schoolchildren from Pests and Pesticides

WHEREAS, Children are particularly vulnerable to pesticide exposure due to their physiological and behavioral characteristics[1].

WHEREAS, Pesticides are commonly used in school buildings and on school grounds[2]. Schools in poor condition or inadequately maintained tend to suffer from pest problems.

WHEREAS, Over 53 million children and 6 million adults, 20% of the U.S. population[3], attend schools. Schools are the building blocks of communities and the keystone of our future.

WHEREAS, School age children have the highest asthma prevalence rate[4]. Learning and developmental disabilities among children is widespread[5]. The number of children with cancer has been rising[6]. There are consistent links between pesticide exposure and serious illnesses such as asthma[7], cancer[8], and reproductive and neurological problems[9].

WHEREAS, Parents and guardians, and school staff wish to, and have a right to be notified in advance of any use of a pesticide in their school.

WHEREAS, The use of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that emphasizes non-chemical methods of pest prevention and management, such as sanitation and maintenance, and the use of the least hazardous pesticide as a last resort will eliminate or significantly reduce the use of and exposure to pesticides while controlling pest populations[10].

WHEREAS, IPM complements other important goals of school maintenance and administration, including energy conservation, food safety, and security. Many schools report long-term economic benefits when IPM methods are adopted[11].


1. Significantly reduce, and where possible eliminate, the use of hazardous pesticides in schools in order to protect children and adults from pesticide exposure while effectively managing pests.

2. Support and promote the adoption of safer pest management practices, such as Integrated Pest Management, that are based on prevention, habitat modification, good soil health, and non-toxic strategies, and use of the least toxic pesticides when needed as a last resort.

3. Discontinue the use of all pesticides that are known or suspected to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, neurotoxic, endocrine or reproductive toxins to humans or those pesticide products that have the highest acute toxicity. End the practice of calendar-based pesticide spraying and the application of pesticides for aesthetic purposes. Prohibit the application of a pesticide in an area that is occupied or may soon be occupied.

4. Use a precautionary approach when making pest management decisions by asking how little harm is possible rather than asking how much harm is allowable.


To sign on to this protocol call 202-543-5450 or Sign Online.

Download: List of SIGNATORIES
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1. National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences. 1993. Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. National Academy Press. Washington, DC. Pgs 184-185; U.S. EPA. 1996. Environmental Health Threats to Children. EPA 175-F-96-001. Office of the Administrator. Washington, DC.

2. Schools in several states have been surveyed for the pesticide use and pest management practices by government and non-governmental organizations. Beyond Pesticides compiled the information into the 48 Commonly Used Pesticides In Schools fact sheet.

3. National Center for Education Statistics. 2003. State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2001-02. as cited in Coalition for Healthier Schools. Position Statement 2004.

4. American Lung Association. 2004. Trends in Asthma Morbidity and Mortality. Epidemiology and Statistics Unit. Research and Scientific Affairs.

5. Dey, A., et al. 2004. “Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2002. Vital Health Stat 10(221); Boyle, C., et al. 1994. “Prevalence and health impact of developmental disabilities in US children.” Pediatrics 93(3):399-403 and based on the 2000 United States census.

6. Reis, L., et al. (eds). 2004. SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2001. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD.

7. Salam, M., et al. 2004. “Early-Life Environmental Risk Factors for Asthma: Findings from the Children’s Health Study.” Environ Health Perspect 112(6):760-765; Box S. et al. 1996. “A Systemic Reaction Following Exposure To a Pyrethroid Insecticide.” Hum Exp Toxicol 15:389-90; Underner, . et al. 1987. “Occupational Asthma in the Rural Environment.” Rev Pneumonol Clin 43:26-35; Weiner, A. 1961. “Bronchial Asthma Due To The Organic Phosphate Insecticides.” Ann Allergy 15: 211-212; Reigart, J. et al. 1999. Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings. 5th edition. U.S. EPA 735-R-98-003; Wagner, S. 2000. “Fatal Asthma In A Child After Use of An Animal Shampoo Containing Pyrethrin.” Western J Med 173:86-87; Field, M. 2002. Asthma the Breathtaking Disease. Johns Hopkins School Of Public Health.; Eskenazi, B., et al. 1999. “Exposures of Children to Organophosphate Pesticides and Their Potential Adverse health Effects.” Environ Health Perspect 107(Supp3):409-419; Senthilselvan, A., et al. 1992. “Association of Asthma With Use of Pesticides: Results of a cross-sectional survey of farmers.” Am Rev Resp Dis 146:884-887.

8. Ma, X. et al. 2002. “Critical Windows of Exposure to Household Pesticides and Risks of Childhood Leukemia.” Environ Health Perspect 110(9): 955-960; Buckley, J. et al. 2000. “Pesticide Exposure in Children with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.” Cancer 89(11): 2315-2321; Zahm, S. et al. 1998. “Pesticides and Childhood Cancer.” Environ Health Perspect 106(Supp3):893-908; Gold, E. et al. 1979. “Risk Factors for Brain Tumors in Children.” Am. J. of Epid. 109(3):309-319; Lowngart, R. et al. 1987. “Childhood Leukemia and Parents’ Occupational and Home Exposures.” J. of the National Cancer Institute 79:39; Davis, J.R. et al. 1993. “Family Pesticide Use and Childhood Brain Cancer.” Arch. Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 24:87-92; Leiss, J. et al. 1995. “Home Pesticide Use and Childhood Cancer: A Case-Control Study.” American Journal of Public Health 85:249-252; Daniels, J. et al, 1997. “Pesticides and Childhood Cancers.” Environ Health Perspect 105:1068-1077; U.S. EPA. 2003. Draft Final Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment. EPA/630/P-03/001A Washington, DC. (accessed July 9,2004); Hoar, S., et al., “Agricultural Herbicide Use and a Risk of Lymphoma and Soft-Tissue Sarcoma, ”Journal of the American Medical Association, 259(9): 1141-1147, 1986; Wigle, D., et al., “Mortality Study of Canadian Farm Operators: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Mortality and Agricultural Practices in Saskatchewan,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 82(7):575-582, 1990; Woods, J., “Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Among Phenoxy Herbicide-Exposed Farm Workers in Western Washington State,” Chemosphere 18(1-6):401-406, 1989; Zahm, S., et al., “A Case Control Study of Non-Hodkin’s Lymphoma on the Herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) in Eastern Nebraska” Epidemiology 1(5):349-356, 1990; Ontario College of Family Physicians. 2004. Systematic Review of Pesticide Human Health Effects. Pesticides Literature Review.Toronto, Ontario.

9. Reigart, J. et al. 1999. Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings. 5th edition. Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. U.S. EPA. 735-R-98-003; Guillette, E., et al. 1998. “An Anthropological Approach to the Evaluation of Preschool Children Exposed to Pesticides in Mexico.” Environ Health Perspect 106(6): 347-353; Schettler, T., et al. 2000. In Harms Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development. Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility: Cambridge, MA; Schettler, T., et al. 2000. Generations at Risk: Reproductive Health and the Environment. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA; Eskenazi B. et al. 1999. “Exposures of Children to Organophosphate Pesticides and Their Potential Adverse Health Effects.” Environ Health Perspect 107(Supp3): 409-419; National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences. 1993. Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. National Academy Press. Washington DC; Winrow, C. et al. 2003. "Loss of Neuropathy Target Esterase in Mice Links Organophosphate Exposure to Hyperactivity.” Nature Genetics

10. School Pesticide Reform Coalition and Beyond Pesticides. 2003. Safer Schools: Achieving A Healthy Learning Environment Through Integrated Pest Management. Beyond Pesticides. Washington DC.

11. U.S. EPA. 1993. Pest Control in the School Environment: Adopting Integrated Pest Management. 735-F-93-012. Office of Pesticide Programs. Washington, DC; Spitzer, E. 2000. Pesticides Use at New York Schools: Reducing the Risk. Environmental Protection Bureau, Attorney General of New York State, p.20; Washington State Department of Ecology. 1999. Calculating the True Costs of Pest Control. Publication No. 99-433. Olympia, WA; Kusel, R. 2001. Member of the Board of Education, East Prairie District #73, Skokie, IL. Letter to U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee; Gilpin, T. 2002. Personal Communication. Native Solutions, Inc., Boulder, CO; Carter, J. 2001. Personal Communication. Director of Planning, Monroe County Community School Corporation, Bloomington, IN; Wendelgass, B. 1997. Evaluation of Integrated Pest Management Use in Pennsylvania School Districts. Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund. Philadelphia, PA; Boise, P. et al. 1999. Reducing Pesticides in Schools: How Two Elementary Schools Control Common Pests Using Integrated Pest Management Strategies. Community Environmental Council. Santa Barbara, CA; Safer Pest Control Project. 1998. Cost of IPM in Schools. Chicago, IL. Citing Angelo Ranieri. 1998. Building Engineer, Susquehanna, NY. Personal Communication; Smartschan, G.F. 2000. Superintendent of Schools, Mt. Lebanon School District, Pittsburgh, PA. Letter to U.S. Senator James Jeffords; Schubert, S. et al. 1996. Voices for Pesticide Reform: The Case for Safe Practices and Sound Policy. National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides (Beyond Pesticides) and Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides. Washington, DC; Washington State Department of Ecology. 1999. Calculating the True Costs of Pest Control. Publication No. 99-433. Olympia, WA; Spitzer, E. 2000. Citing Castronovo, P. 1999. Personal Communication. University of Rochester; Washington State Department of Ecology. 1999. Citing U.S. EPA. 1998. The City of Santa Monica’s Environmental Purchasing – A Case Study. EPA 742-R-98-001; Greene, A. 1993. “Integrated Pest Management for Buildings.” Pesticides and You 13(2-3); Owens, K. 2002. “Schools Save Money with IPM.” Pesticides and You 22(1):18-19.