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.
Colorado 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.
Colorado does not have any statewide requirements for posting notification signs 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.
Colorado Pesticide Applicator’s Act Rules and Regulations, Part 13, requires commercial or public turf and ornamental applicators to post notification signs at the time of an application. Lawn application, including athletic fields, playgrounds, and “other similar recreation or common property,” require sign posting adjacent to the specific area treated. No time for signs to remain posted is specified.
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 adverse health effects listed on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and label, the day and time, and area of the application and how to obtain a copy of the MSDS and label.
Colorado does not have any statewide requirements for prior written 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.
Colorado law does not have any state laws restricting the use of pesticides in schools.
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.
Colorado does not have any statewide requirements for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) implementation. If you have any information please contact us at [email protected].
Boulder Valley School District
Date Passed: No official policy, program in place since 2001.
IPM: The school district contracts Native Solutions, Inc. to manage their pest program. The company does not use any toxic chemicals. The most potent pesticides they use are borax, boric acid, limonene, and a 1% solution of soap and mint oil. (For more information contact Native Solutions, Inc., see below.)
Notification: See state laws above.
Prohibitions on Use: Toxic chemical pesticides are not used.
Other Schools with IPM/Notification Policies:
Cherry Creek School District
Jefferson County Public Schools
Coloradians for Alternatives to Toxics
PO Box 231
Nederland, CO 80466
Phone: (303) 258-3133
Colorado Pesticide Network
2205 Meade Street
Denver, CO 80211-5055
Phone: (303) 433-2608
Email: [email protected]
Native Solutions, Inc.
Tim Gilpin, Ph.D.
PO Box 265
Boulder, CO 80027
Phone: (303) 661-0561
Fax: (303) 661-0561
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]