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.
Texas has no 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.
Texas Structural Pest Control Board Regulations, section 595.8(b), states that posting is required for schools, educational institutions, and day care centers in common access areas at least 48 hours prior to the application. The school is responsible for posting the notification signs. A “Consumer Information Sheet” is given to any employee working in the building at his/her request. Schools are defined as public, private, and parochial primary and secondary schools. The length of time for signs to remain posted is not specified.
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.
Texas law states to post sign at time of application, to remation through reentry interval.
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.
Texas Structural Pest Control Board Regulations, section 595.8(c), requires schools, educational institutions and day care centers to inform parents or guardians of students in writing that pesticides are periodically applied indoors and on perimeters and that parents can sign up to be on a registry to be notified of the times and types of applications. This notification is made when the student registers, at the beginning of the school year or whenever a student enrolls. The regulation does not specify the period of time for notification although sign posting requirements call for signs to be posted at least 48 hours in advance.
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.
Texas Structural Pest Control Board Regulations, section 595.11, classifies pesticides by their EPA toxicity category and are color coded, green, yellow and red. Each color represents different precautions and reentry times. Some Green List pesticides may not be applied when students are in the application area. For example, no indoor application of certain Green List pesticides can be used when students are in the area. All other Green List pesticides, Yellow list pesticides and Red list pesticides can only be applied 12 hours before students will be in the area of application. For outdoor applications, Green List pesticides can only be applied if students will be at least 10 feet from the application site. Yellow List pesticides can only be applied if students will be at least 10 feet from the application site for the following 12 hours. Red List pesticides can only be applied if students will be at least 50 feet from the application site for the next 12 hours.
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.
Texas Structural Pest Control Board Regulations, section 595.11, require each school district to adopt IPM policies and designate an IPM coordinator who has taken special IPM training courses. Each school board’s adopted policy is on file with the district superintendent and IPM coordinator. Each policy must base its IPM definition on the one defined by the US EPA. The definition should include strategies that rely on the best combination of pest management tactics that are compatible with human health and environmental protection, use of non-chemical management strategies whenever practical and preferential use of least-toxic chemical controls when pesticides are needed.
COPY OF STATE SCHOOL PESTICIDE LAW
Texas IPM Laws
Andrews Independent School District
Date Passed: Unknown.
IPM: The district's policy requires, when possible, pesticides will be applied during times when the building is vacant for a period of time.
Posting Notification Signs: notification signs will be posted in advance (no time specified).
Prior Written Notification: those who occupy the building will be notified in advance (no time specified).
Contact: Andrews Independent School District, 405 NW 3rd Street, Andrews, TX 79714. Phone: 915-523-3640
Birdville Independent School District (Start page 6)
Date Passed: Unknown.
IPM: The district's policy requires the use of non-chemical pest control tactics, pesticides are used as a last resort.
Contact: Birdville Independent School District, Administration Offices, 6125 Belknap, Haltom City, TX 76117.
Phone: (817) 547-5700
Humble Independent School District
Date Passed: June 1995
IPM: Selection of non-chemical pest management methods will be implemented whenever possible. The full range of alternatives, including no action will be considered. When it is determined that a pesticide must be used the least hazardous material will be chosen.
Notification: See state law above.
Contact: Humble Independent School District, 20200 Eastway Village Drive, Humble, TX 77338.
Phone: (281) 641-1000
Other Schools with IPM/Notification Policies:
Austin Independent School District
Lewisville Independent School District
Spring Branch Independent School District
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]