Minnesota—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

Minnesota does not have any statewide requirements regarding 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

Minnesota does not have any statewide posting requirements for indoor school pesticide applications.

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

Minnesota does not have any statewide posting requirements for outdoor school pesticide applications.

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), the day and time, a summary of the pesticides adverse effects and area of the application and how to obtain a copy of the MSDS and label.

State Information

Universal notification is provided at the beginning of the school year and includes a summary of the school policy, a list of pesticides expected to be used during the school year, it must state: "that long-term health effects on children from the application of such pesticides or the class of chemicals to which they belong may not be fully understood," and how parents can sign up for a notificiation registry to be notified at a "reasonable" time before application. Also, The registry notice may be waived for emergency applications.

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. 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

Minnesota does not have any state laws restricting school pesticide use.

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

"A school is not required to adopt an integrated pest management plan. A school board may only notify students, parents, or employees that it has adopted an integrated pest management plan if the plan is a managed pest control program designed to minimize the risk to human health and the environment and to reduce the use of chemical pesticides."

Janet B. Johnson Parents' Right-to-Know Act of 2000.



Hopkins School District 270
Date Passed: January 2000
IPM: The policy requires schools to establish an IPM program that emphasizes using a balanced combination of methods to reduce pests and use pesticides as a last resort.
Posting Notification Signs for Indoor Use: Notification signs shall be posted 48 hours in advance.
Posting Notification Signs for Outdoors Use: A notification sign shall be posted in an "appropriate" place (no time specified).
Prior Written Notification: During the school year a written notice will be sent home with students five days prior to application.
Prohibition of Use: Only pesticides and herbicides classified as EPA Category III or IV may be used.
Contact: Hopkins School District, 1001 Highway 7, Hopkins, Minnesota 55305. Phone: (952) 988-4000
Fax: (952) 988-4020

Willmar Public Schools
Date Passed: Unknown.
The district utilizes a licensed, professional pest control service firm for the prevention and control pests in and around the district's buildings. Their program consists of: inspection and monitoring, recommendations for maintenance and sanitation, application of EPA regulated pesticides and the use of non-chemical methods of pest control.
Prior Written Notification: A schedule of indoor and outdoor pesticide applications is available in each school office. Parents can be placed on a registry, "at their own expense," to be given prior notification via mail, of applications 24 hours in advance should they differ from the schedule.
Contact: Skip Hanson, Administrative Assistant, Willmar Public Schools, 611 5th Street SW, Willmar, MN 56201. Phone: (320) 231-8500, Fax: (320) 231-8504



Minnesota CHEC
12813 Dolittle Drive
Minnetonka, MN 55305
Email: [email protected]

Kids for Saving Earth Worldwide

5425 Pineview Lane
Plymouth, MN 55442
Phone: (763) 559-1234
Fax: (763) 559-6980
Email: [email protected]

Minnesota HELPS: Health, Environmental, and Pesticide Saftey
University of Minnesota Extension Service
Dr. Dean Herzfeld
495 Borlaug Hall
1991 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55105
Phone: (612) 624-3477
Fax: (612) 625-9728
Email: [email protected]

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


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