The Honorable full
United States Senate (House of Representatives)
Washington, DC 20510 (20515)
Dear Senator (Representative) last name__:
I am writing to request your support of the School Environment Protection Act (SEPA). This legislation is critical to providing basic levels of protection for children and school staff from the use of pesticides in public school buildings and on school grounds.
The National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) state that children are especially sensitive to pesticide exposures as they take in more pesticides relative to their body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that are more vulnerable and less able to detoxify toxic chemicals. Even at low levels, exposure to pesticides can cause serious adverse health effects.
SEPA is an excellent solution to the problem because it carefully balances the need to manage pests at schools, while ensuring that children are learning in a safe, healthy and pest-free environment, with providing interested parents with information about upcoming pesticide treatments. It is imperative that we have a federal mandate that establishes the necessary steps to ensure adequate protection of our most precious resource, our children.
The tools and experience to control school pests without using toxic chemicals are available nationwide and have proven to be effective and economical. SEPA will help to put the alternatives in place. If pesticides are used, then clearly people have a right-to-know. The notification provisions are crucial to parent involvement.
Thirty-three states have taken some action to step in and provide protective action to address pesticide use in, around or near their schools. However, no one state law contains all the elements included in this important piece of legislation. Under existing state laws, 20 states require prior notification be provided to parents before a pesticide application is made to their child's school. This new legislation will bring the other 30 states up to this minimum and essential standard. Also under existing state laws, only eleven states require schools use a pest management system that relies on non-chemical and chemical strategies, focusing on alternative pest management methods and on minimizing pesticide use. SEPA will require all schools across the country to implement such pest management strategies. IPM practitioners have cited large cost savings to school districts that utilize pest management practices supported by the legislation.
I hope you will be a loud voice for the protection of children from pesticide exposure at school. Please support SEPA.