Alaska—School Policies



I. Restricted Spray Zones Around School Property


Pesticides move off the target site when they are sprayed, whether inside or outside. When sprayed outside pesticides drift on to nearby property resulting in off target residues. Buffer zones can eliminate exposure from spray drift on to school property. As a result, states require buffer zones around schools. In order to adequately protect against drift, buffer zones should, at a minimum, be established in a 2 mile radius around the school’s property. Aerial applications should have a larger buffer zone, at least 3 miles encircling the school. Buffer zones should be in effect at all times of the day. It is especially important for spray restrictions to be in place during commuting times and while students and employees are on school grounds.

State Information

Alaska does not have any statewide requirements for restricted spray zones around school property.

II. Posting Notification Signs for Indoor Pesticide Applications


States use different approaches in providing school pesticide use information to parents, students and staff. Some forms include the posting of notification signs and/or the distribution of notices directly to the affected population. Posted notification signs warn those in the school when and where pesticides have been or are being applied. This is a vehicle for basic right-to-know if the posting occurs in an area where it is easily seen by parents, students and staff. It is important to post signs for indoor pesticide applications because of the extensive period of time students and school employees spend at school. Signs posted prior to commencement of the pesticide application, not after, are more protective. The prior notification system effectively enables people to take precautionary action. Because of the residues left behind after an application, signs should remain posted for at least 72 hours. It takes time for pesticides to start breaking down and some pesticide residues can least for weeks. Signs should also be posted at all main entrances of the building and the specific area sprayed, on the main bulletin board, and, for more comprehensive notification, in the school newspaper or on the daily announcements. Posted signs should state when and where a pesticide is applied, the name of the pesticide applied and how to get further information, such as a copy of the material safety data sheet (MSDS) and the product(s) label.

State Information

For indoor pesticide applications, the state of Alaska requires notification signs to be posted and remain for 24 hours. When school is out of session and open to the public, notification signs must be posted 24 hours prior to the application.

III. Posting Notification Signs for Outdoor Pesticide Applications


For a wider range of protection, states should require posting pesticide notification signs for outdoor pesticide applications as well. Students who play sports or people continually on the lawns represent a high risk when applications occur on school property. Dermal exposure can occur when a football player gets tackled, a soccer player slides to make a block or a student sits on the grass to eat lunch or watch a game. Inhalation exposure can occur when a player breathes in kicked up dust and dirt and pesticide residues. Even spectators at a game or passersby face inhalation exposure to pesticides that volatilize or vaporize off the treated area.

State Information

For outdoor pesticide applications, the state of Alaska requires notification signs to be posted and remain for 24 hours. When school is out of session and open to the public, notification signs must be posted 24 hours prior to the application.

IV. Prior Written Notification


Written notification of pesticide use is a good way to make sure that all parents, children and staff are aware and warned of pesticide use in the schools. Limited notification-based registries is a less effective means of notifying people and does not qualify as true right-to-know because of its limited scope. Requiring that individuals place themselves on registries, sometimes only with a doctor’s letter, afford only those who already know about toxic exposure the opportunity to be informed about pesticide use in the school. Prior notification should be 72 hours in advance to make sure the information has been received, to get further information regarding the pesticide and to make arrangements to avoid the exposure, if necessary. Notification should include the name of the pesticide(s), a summary of the pesticides adverse health effects, the day and time, and area of the application and how to obtain a copy of the MSDS and label.

State Information

The state of Alaska requires schools to provide 24 hour prior written notice of a pesticide application. Schools are required to provide notification either by establishing a parent staff registry or by providing universal notification.

V. Prohibitions on Use


Limiting when and what pesticides are applied in and around schools is important to the reduction of pesticide exposure. Pesticides should never be applied when students or employees are in the area or may be in the area within 24 hours of the application. Seven states specifically state restrict the type and timing of pesticides that may be used in a school. In reality, certain types of pesticides, such as carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, reproductive toxins, developmental toxins, neurotoxins, persistent compounds and substances, bioaccumulative compounds and substances, toxicity category 1 acutely toxic pesticides and ground water contaminants should not be used around children.

State Information

Alaska law prohibits children from entering areas treated with pesticides for 24 hours or the reentry interval stated on the label.

VI. Integrated Pest Management


A good integrated pest management (IPM) program can eliminate the unnecessary application of synthetic, volatile pesticides in schools. The main elements of a good IPM program include: 1) monitoring to establish whether there is a pest problem, 2) identifying the causes of the pest problem, 3) addressing the cause by changing conditions to prevent problems, 4) utilizing pest suppression techniques, if necessary, that are based on mechanical and biological controls and 5) only after non-toxic alternatives have been tried and exhausted, use the least toxic pesticide. An IPM policy should include a written policy guide and a prohibited and acceptable materials list. Material that could be considered after using other methods include boric acid and disodium octoborate tetrahydrate, silica gels, diatomaceous earth, insect growth regulators, insect and rodent baits in tamper resistant containers or for crack and crevice placement only, microbe-based insecticides, botanical insecticides (not including synthetic pyrethriods) without toxic synergists, and biological (living) control agents.

State Information

Alaska does not explicitly use the term Integrated Pest Management (IPM). However, the state's pesticide control law on school use and notification (18 AAC 90.625) states "The administrator of a school shall, whenever practical, ensure the use of nonchemical methods to control pests, including proper sanitation practices, structural repair, and window screens."

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation: Pesticide Control (18 AAC 90.625)



Anchorage School District
Date passed: February 2000
IPM: School district policy requires implementation of an IPM program that prioritizes non-chemical methods of pest control and uses pesticides as a last resort.
Posting Notification Signs: Notification signs are to be posted in designated areas 48 hours prior to the application and remain for 72 hours after the application commences.
Prior Written Notification: Written notification will be given to students, parents/guardians, and staff through a registry or universal notification (school decision) prior to pesticide application. This will be achieved by posting signs and sending notices home with students 48 hours prior to the application.
Prohibition on Use: The use of pesticides that are acutely toxic or proven to cause cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive damage, immune system damage or nervous system toxicity are prohibited.
Other: the district's policy prohibits purchase and storage of pesticides by the school district.
School Contact: Anchorage School District, 4600 DeBarr Road, PO Box 196614, Anchorage, AK 99519-6614.
Phone: (907) 742-4000, Email: [email protected].

Fairbanks North Star Borough School District
Date Passed: June 1993
IPM: The superintendent is required to develop an IPM program based on a lowest toxicity priority system to assure its safety, quality and effectiveness.
School Contact: Superintendent Jim Holt, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, 520 Fifth Ave., Fairbanks, AK 99701



Alaska Community Action on Toxics
135 Christensen Drive, Suite 100
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 222-7714
Email: [email protected]

Alaska Coalition Against Toxics
3330 Eagle Street
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone: (907) 561-2330

For more contacts for local organizations, visit our Links to Local Organizations.


For more information contact Beyond Pesticide
701 E Street, S.E., Suite 200, Washington, DC, 20003 [email protected]