Daily News Archive
From July 3, 2002

EPA Encourages Schools Adopt Better Pest Management Practices

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a new brochure, "Protecting Children in Schools from Pests and Pesticides," which recommends schools adopt an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, a safer and more cost-effective approach to controlling school pest problems. "Childhood exposure to pesticides is an environmental health risk facing children today," states EPA Administrator Christine Whitman on the brochure. "We are focused on helping communities address this problems."

IPM is a program of prevention, monitoring and control by focusing on eliminating or reducing sources of food, water and harborage for pests, and limiting pest access into buildings. It offers the opportunity for schools to eliminate or drastically reduce pesticide use, and to minimize the toxicity of and possible exposure to any products used. The EPA brochure recommends schools use "cultural, mechanical, and [the] lowest-impact chemical control technologies" as part of a school's pest management program.

EPA's brochure includes brief examples of IPM practices and of schools that have implemented a successful IPM program. Although the brochure discusses health risks associated with common school pests, children's environmental health groups charge that the brochure does little to inform the public about the possible health risks associated with school pesticide use.

In efforts to further promote schools adopt an IPM approach to pest management, Beyond Pesticides' has published "Building Blocks for School IPM: A Least-toxic Pest Management Manual" which provides comprehensive information on implementing school IPM, including a practical guide to identifying, preventing and controlling common school pest problems. It is designed for individuals that are responsible for school pest management. Because schools in different parts of the country have different pest problems and different needs, "Building Blocks for School IPM" is intended to be used as a guide that can be molded into a specific school IPM program. The manual includes information on why schools should adopt IPM programs, how to develop and implement a program, pest management strategies to structural and outdoor pests, school IPM experts, a model policy and contract, non and least toxic product guide and fact sheets on the toxicity of commonly used pesticides at schools.

For more information about school IPM and school pesticide use, please see Beyond Pesticides' Children and Schools program page (http://www.beyondpesticides.org/schools/index.htm). Contact Beyond Pesticides to order a copy of "Building Blocks for School IPM" ($15 ppd, 285 pages).

Copies of EPA's brochure (reference number EPA-735-F-02-014) can be ordered at 1-800-490-9198.