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Pennsylvania


STATE SCHOOL PESTICIDE LAW

I.
Restricted Spray Zones Around School Property

Overview

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.

State Information

Pennsylvania does not have any statewide requirements regarding restricted spray zones around school property.

II. Posting Notification Signs for Indoor Pesticide Applications

Overview

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.

State Information

Pennsylvania law requires signs to be posted 72 hours prior to the application and remain for 48 hours.

III. Posting Notification Signs for Outdoor Pesticide Applications

Overview

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.

State Information

Pennsylvania law requires signs to be posted 72 hours prior to the application and remain for 48 hours.

IV. Prior Written Notification

Overview

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 pesticides adverse health effects, the day and time, and area of the application and how to obtain a copy of the MSDS and label.

State Information

Universal notice is provided 72 hours in advance of an application to school staff. Schools can decide whether they want to provide prior written notification via a registry or universal notification to parents. Schools are also required to maintain a "hypersensitivity registry" for those individuals who "are especially sensitive to pesticides."

V. Prohibitions on Use

Overview

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.

State Information

Pennsylvania prohibits pesticide applications when students will be present in the school building or on school grounds for 7 hours following the application.

VI. Integrated Pest Management

Overview

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.

State Information

Pennsylvania requires schools to implement IPM programs. IPM is defined in the law as "a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way which minimizes economic, health and environmental risks."

COPY OF STATE SCHOOL PESTICIDE LAW
§ 7-772.1. Integrated pest management programs
§ 7-772.2. Notification of pesticide treatments at schools
Updated IPM Policy for Pennsylvania Schools

 

LOCAL SCHOOL PESTICIDE PROGRAMS

The Pennsylvania Pesticide Notification Act requires all school districts, intermediate units, vocational-technical schools or any of these acting jointly with provisions for private and parochial schools to adopt Integrated Pest Management. Click here to search the Pennsylvania Department of Education to find contact information for your school.

Examples of Local School Pest Management Policies:

Carlisle Area School District
Date Passed: Unknown.
IPM: The schools focuses on using physical controls and monitoring instead of spraying pesticides. When pesticides are used, the least toxic product will be used and only when the area is unoccupied.
Notification: See state law above.
Prohibition of Use: See state law above.

Central Dauphin School District
Date Passed: Unknown.
IPM: Pesticides are applied only as needed.
Notification: See sate law above.
Prohibition of Use: The school district prohibits pesticides containing organophosphates or carbamates.

Colonial School District
Date Passed: Unknown.
IPM: The district's program uses non-chemical pest control efforts and only uses pesticides when other efforts fail.
Notification: See sate law above.
Prohibition of Use: See sate law above.

Everett Area School District
Date Passed: 1995
IPM: The school's policy states the school applies pesticides "as needed."
Notification: See state law above.
Prohibition of Use: Only over the counter general use pesticides are used.

Montoursville Area School District
Date Passed: 1993
IPM: The district's policy focuses on maintenance, inspection and preventive measures. Pesticides are used as a last resort.
Notification: See state law above.
Prohibition of Use: See state law above.

Philadelphia School District
Date Passed: 1999
IPM: The school's program gives preference to non-chemical methods of pest control where pesticides are used as a last resort.
Notification: See state law above.
Prohibition of Use: See state law above.
Other: Schools must wait a minimum of 24 hours after an application before students and staff may reenter the area.

Pittsburgh School District
Date Passed: 1999
IPM: The school's IPM program gives preference to non-chemical methods of pest control where least-toxic pesticides are used as a last resort.
Notification: See state law above.
Prohibition of Use: See state law above.
Other: Schools must wait a minimum of 24 hours after an application before students and staff may reenter the area.


Radnor Township School District
Date Passed: IPM was implemented in 1994
IPM: The school district adopted a natural pesticide program where schools use non-toxic treatments. Specifically they use inspections, monitoring, caulking, sealing and investigating structural areas for pest entry. Sanitation is critical in there efforts and rather than use pesticide applications. Radnor vacuums pests for
removal and locates sources of entry or food to control pests. Radnor has contracted Western Pest Control to utilize IPM inside the school building, the company places non-toxic baits in instances where they are needed. Radnor Township tends to the grounds and use "environmentally friendly" methods of pest control.
Notification: See state law above.
Prohibition of Use: see state law above.
Contact: Leo Bernabei, Director of Operations, email: leo.bernabei@rtsd.org
Radnor Township School District, 135 South Wayne Avenue, Wayne, PA 19087. Phone: (610) 688-8100
Fax: (610) 971-0742.
Tom Mayfield, Western Pest Control, phone: (610) 353-5787

West Chester Area School District
Date Passed: Unknown.
IPM: The school's IPM program for outdoor pest management emphasizes non-chemical methods where pesticides are used as a last resort.
Notification: See state law above.
Prohibition of Use: The IPM program outlines what pesticides can be used for a specific area during different seasons.
Other: In August of 2000, the West Chester Area School District decided to apply pesticides to its school grounds (pesticides had not be used since the mid 1990's), despite public outcry. Millenium Ultra (active ingredient: triclopyr) was used, it contains 2,4-D as its active ingredient which is known to be carcinogenic and injure the kidneys, liver and central nervous system. (Source: Daily Local, "WCASD Approves Herbicide." August 30, 2000.)
Local Organization Contact: Advocates for a Better Earth, PO Box 80334, Valley Forge, PA 19484.
Phone:( 610) 431-2703, Email: islandwld@hotmail.com


West Perry School District
Date Passed: Unknown.
IPM: The districts policy requires pesticides to be applied "as needed."
Posting Notification Signs: See state law above.
Prior Written Notification: The school district has established a registry for parents to receive prior notification (see state law above for more details).
Prohibition of Use: See state law above.



CONTACTS FOR LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS

Clean Water Action
www.cleanwateraction.org/pa/

Philadelphia Office
1201 Chestnut Street #602
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 640-8800
Fax: (215) 640-0930
Email: philly@cleanwater.org

Pittsburgh Office
100 5th Ave, Suite 1108
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: (412) 765-3053
Fax: (412) 765-1737
Email: pittcwa@cleanwater.org

Allentown Office
1933 Tilghman Street Suite B
Allentown, PA 18104
Phone: (610) 434-9223
Fax: (610) 434-5790
Email: allentowncwa@cleanwater.org

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, info@beyondpesticides.org