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.
West Virginia 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.
West Virginia Code of State Rules, title 61 section 12J, requires day care centers to post signs when crack and crevice, spot, broadcast or space pesticide applications are made in the center. Section 12J-8.3.2 states that the notice must be posted at least 24 hours in advance at the place where the parent or guardian signs the child in and out of the facility, there are no specifics on time to remain posted.
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.
Day care employees, automatic 24 hour notice, level 3 or 4 pesticides. Parent registry, schools and day care centers, 24 hour notice of level 3 or 4 pesticides.
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.
West Virginia, Legislative Rule 61-12J section 8.1.2, requires all schools and day care centers automatically notify employees at least 24 hours before an application of higher toxicity pesticides, identified by the state as level 3 and 4. Sections 8.2. and 8.3 require that at the beginning of every school year, or at the time a student enrolls, for schools and day care centers, school administrators must notify parents or guardians of their right to be informed when level 3 or 4 pesticides are applied 24 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.
West Virginia Legislative Rules, title 61 section 12J-7.1.3.c and 12J-7.1.4.c, require students and employees to remain out of application areas based on deferred levels of toxicity and application method. Level 3 pesticides require a four hour waiting period during which students and employees must remain out of treated areas. Level 4 pesticides require at least an eight-hour waiting period. Section 12J.9 states that employees and students of schools and day care centers must not be present at the time of a pesticide application, but that “pesticides may be applied to a localized area of infestation when students, children or school and day care center employees are present if the infestation causes an imminent threat of bodily harm” (W.VA. CODE ST. R. tit 61 § 12J.9.1 (1996)).
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.
West Virginia Legislative Rules, title 61 section12J-3, defines IPM, and requires alternative pest control methods in its definition. Title 61 section 12J of the Legislative Rules also establishes procedures to provide IPM in schools and day care centers. The schools must then file plans with the Commissioner.
COPY OF STATE SCHOOL PESTICIDE LAW
West Virginia Legislative Rule for School IPM
Date Passed: November 1995
IPM: The school's IPM program is site-specific. It states non-chemical methods of pest control will be used when ever possible and least toxic pesticides shall be used when all other options are not feasible, no action will also be considered.
Posting Notification Signs: Notification signs shall be posted in designated areas (no specifics on time).
Prior Written Notification: Written notices shall be sent home to parents wishing to be informed in advanced of pesticide applications (no specific on time).
Prohibition of Use: Pesticides not registered with the EPA are prohibited.
Other: Pesticide sprays are applied only when occupants are absent for eight hours.
Contact: Cabell County Schools, 2850 5th Avenue Huntington, WV 25702. Phone: (304)528-5000
For more information contact
Beyond Pesticides, 701 E Street, S.E., Suite 200, Washington, DC, 20003, [email protected]