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 schools 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.
The state of Illinois 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.
The state of Illinois does not have any statewide requirements regarding posting notification signs for indoor pesticide use.
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.
Illinois Lawn Care Products Application and Notice Act, chapter 415 section 65/3 of the Illinois Complied Statutes, requires an applicator for hire to post signs when applying pesticides to turf or ornamentals. The sign may be removed the following day.
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 doctors 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.
Illinois requires schools to decide if they want to establish a parent registry or universal notification, with a 48 hour advanced notice.
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, bioacc umulative compounds and substances, toxicity category 1 acutely toxic pesticides and ground water contaminants should not be used around children.
The state of Illinois has no state laws restricting pesticide use 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.
Illinois Structural Pest Control Act, section 235/3.25 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, has a very thorough definition of IPM. The act defines IPM as a pest management system that includes the following elements: a) identifying of pests and their natural enemies; b) establishing an ongoing monitoring and record keeping system for regular sampling and assessment of pest and natural enemy populations; c) determining the pest population levels that can be tolerated based on aesthetic, economic, and health concerns, and setting action thresholds where pest populations or environmental conditions warrant remedial action; d) the prevention of pest problems through improved sanitation, management of waste, addition of physical barriers, and the modification of habitats that attract or harbor pests; 5) reliance to the greatest extent possible on nontoxic, biological, culturall or mechanical pest management methods, or on the use of natural control agents; 6) when necessary, the use of chemical pesticides, with preference for products that are the least harmful to human health and the environments; and 7) record keeping and reporting of pest populations, surveillance techniques, and remedial actions taken (225 ILL. COMP. STAT 235/3.25 (1997)). Section 235/10.2 of the Structural Pest Control Act requires the Department of Public Health to prepare IPM guidelines for school buildings and property. The schools are then encouraged to adopt these guidelines and have a designated person, a school employee, to oversee the implementation in the school. It also states that the Department of Public Health may develop a training program for the designated specialists. Also, each school is required to adopt an IPM only if it is economically feasible. The school district must provide written notification to the Illinois Department of Public Health if adoption is not economically feasible whereas the Department will make this information available to the public upon request.
OF STATE SCHOOL PESTICIDE LAW
School (Community Consolidated School District #46)
Schools with IPM/Notification Policies:
Pest Control Project
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