SCHOOL PESTICIDE LAW
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.
New Jersey Pesticide Control Regulations, section 7:30-10.2(f), states no person applying a pesticide shall permit drift or other movement of the pesticide to infringe on a non target site, under circumstances where such infringement should be reasonably foreseeable. Also, no person shall directly apply any pesticide to a non-target site (d). Section 7:30-10.3 (k), states that community or areawide pesticide applications for the control of gypsy moths must not occur within 2 miles of a kindergarten through 8th grade school and within 2 ½ miles of grades 9 through 12, or when students are commuting to and from school. Section 7:30-10.5(q) restricts aerial applications 300 horizontal feet around any school property when people are on school property. In addition, section 7:30-9.14 (a) prohibits pesticide applications within 250 feet from school property with equipment operating at greater than 60 psi unless proper notification is given.
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.
New Jersey Pesticide Control Regulation, section 7:30-9.12(d, 3, iv.) of the New Jersey Administrative Code, requires permanent posting at the central bulletin board for indoor school pesticide applications. The notice must include a contact for receiving more information and the next application date. The posted sign may be removed 60 days after the last treatment if no more applications are planned.
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.
New Jersey Pesticide Control Regulation, section 7:30-9.13(e), requires any commercial pesticide turf or ornamental application to school grounds, such as athletic fields, playgrounds and recreation areas, to post signs at the start of the application. Signs are to remain posted for at least 72 hours at the main entrance points to that area. Signs include contact information to get more information on the pesticide(s) applied.
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.
New Jersey Pesticide Control Regulation, section 7:30-9.12 ((d) 2.), states that if the contracting party, occupant and/or building manager or building contact person requests prior notification of the specific date of the application or copy of the labels for the pesticides used, such information shall be provided by applicator or applicator business."
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.
New Jersey Administrative Code, section 7:30-10.3(n), restricts when or where pesticides may be used. It states that no pesticide applications, except rodenticides, insect baits and antimicrobial agents can be applied within any schools (preschool to 12th grade) property, during the schools normal hours. Exceptions to this regulation include: (1) athletic fields not used by school children during normal school hours, (2) residental areas for students not used by school children during normal school hours (whereas all notification requirements have been met) and (3) structures that are separate from any structure used by school children may be treated during normal school hours. After normal school hours, applications can be made in areas where students will not contact treated areas until sufficient time is allowed for the pesticide to dry or settle or to meet label reentry or ventilation requirements.(N.J. ADMIN. CODE tit. 7 §30-10.3 (n 1-3) (2001)).
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.
The School Integrated Pest Management Act and New Jersey's Pesticide Control Regulations (7:30-13) require all schools to implement an IPM policy.
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