Pesticide use in schools
by Joanne Henning Tedesco —
Although more and more communities across the country are acting to protect children from pesticide use in their schools, no national protections or standards exist. In an effort to correct this situation and ensure national leadership to protect children from daily doses of hazardous chemicals in their classrooms and playgrounds, the School Environment Protection Act (SEPA) was written.
Critical to providing a safer and healthier learning environment for children, SEPA is the result of an historic agreement between organizations representing the environment, children and labor, and groups representing the agriculture, chemical and pest management industries.
SEPA provides basic protection for children and school staff from the use of pesticides in public school buildings and on school grounds. This important piece of legislation requires public schools to implement safer approaches to pest management, relying on a range of non-chemical and chemical alternatives. It also requires that parents and school staff be notified when pesticides are used.
New technology is producing effective, economical non-hazardous pesticides which are now available nationwide. SEPA will help put the alternatives in place.
This national effort has grown out of incredible state and local success in adopting policies to protect children from pesticides and establishing pest management strategies that do not rely on pesticides. However, the majority of school children in the U.S. remain unprotected. The time is right for national protection.
For additional information, see a copy of the bill summary, bill language, sample letter to Congress, and/or list of supporters at.beyondpesticides.org/schools/alerts.
Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 23, Number 1, February/March 2005.