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.
Louisiana Advisory Commission on Pesticides, section 149(B), restricts commercial aerial applications within 1,000 feet of any school grounds during normal school hours, with the exception of aerial mosquito control applications. Schools include, public or private, day or residential, and elementary to secondary schools.
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.
The state of Louisiana has no statewide requirements regarding posting 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.
The state of Louisiana has no statewide requirements regarding posting signs 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 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.
Louisiana State Pesticide Law, section 3389 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, requires all schools to maintain a pesticide sensitive student registry. Schools include public or private, day or residential, and elementary to secondary schools. Parents must submit in writing their request to be pre-notified and can be placed on a parent registry. Medical verification of a student’s sensitivity is also required.
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.
Louisiana Pesticide Law, section 3384 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, states that restricted use pesticides applications are not allowed if students will be within the school or on the school’s grounds for normal school activities for at least 8 hours after the application occurs. Schools include public or private, day or residential, and elementary to secondary 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 nontoxic 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.
Louisiana Pesticide Law, section 3382-3388 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, discusses primary and secondary school pesticide safety by encouraging least toxic alternatives to pesticides. The law does not define IPM directly. Instead, “least toxic method is the integral part of an integrated pest management plan that may include pest control other than the application of pesticides” (LA. REV. STAT. § 3385 (1996)) and goes on to discuss the main points of an IPM program. Schools are encouraged to adopt “the least toxic method of pest control.” Section 3386 of the law states that pest management at schools must be done by a trained IPM applicator. Annually, each school authority is to develop and submit a plan on how IPM will be implemented for school structures and property. This plan, as well as a written record of all restricted use pesticides used, is available to the public.
COPY OF STATE SCHOOL PESTICIDE LAW
Louisiana School Pesticide Safety (Revised Statues Sections 3381-3389)
Louisiana Buffer Zone Regulations
Mandeville, St. Thomas Parish
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