STATE SCHOOL PESTICIDE LAW
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 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.
Michigan 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.
Michigan Pesticide Use Regulation, section 285.637.11 of the Michigan Administrative Code, requires posting by the commercial applicator making a broadcast, failure, or space application of restricted-use insecticide to a day-care center or school. Schools, including public or private, kindergarten through 12th grade, must post a sign at the primary point of entry to the building. Posting is required upon completion of the application and remain posted for at least 48 hours.
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.
Michigan Administrative Code, section 285.637.11, requires commercial applicators applying a broadcast, failure or space restricted use pesticides to turf or ornamentals to post notification signs. Signs are to be posted immediately following the application and remain posted for 24 hours.
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 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.
Michigan Regulation No. 637, Pesticide Use, section 285.637.15 of the Michigan Administrative Code, requires the school districts administrator to provide written information to parents or guardians of students of the school or day-care center on how to be included on the list for prior notification. This information is given at the beginning of the school year, in September for a day-care center, or when a new student enrolls. Prior notification is provided by mail or by telephone and given 24 hours before the application. During the months when school is not in regular session, school administrators may utilize a message notification system.
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.
Michigan Administrative Code, regulation no. 637 Pesticide Use, section 285.637.15, restricts the type of pesticides to be used in and around schools and day-care facilities. Neither liquid spray nor aerosol insecticide can be used in a school unless the area is unoccupied by students at least 4 hours after the application. It also does not permit outdoor ornamental and turf applications of liquid spray pesticides be made within 100 feet of an occupied room or building during school hours or when people are using the application area.
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.
Michigan has one of
the weaker official definitions of IPM. For a pesticide application in
schools, the applicator must be trained in IPM. Detailed elements of the
training, found in Regulation No. 637 Pesticide Use, section 285.637.14
of the Michigan Administrative Code, are similar to the main methods associated
with IPM, but does not give priority to non-chemical approaches. Michigan
requires IPM plans be developed for indoor pest management only.
Arbor Public Schools
Technical High School, Detroit Public School System
Rapids Public Schools
Allendale Public Schools
Bangor Public Schools