Daily News Archives
From February 23, 2005

North Carolinians Push School Boards To Get Pesticides Out of Schools
(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2005)
The Raleigh-based Agricultural Resources Center (ARC) and Pesticide in Education Project, alongside parents, calls for a drastic reduction of toxic pesticide use in schools before two area school boards this week.

School board meetings in Durham County and Orange County, North Carolina are hearing from parents and environmental health advocates this week in an effort to get the districts to implement integrated pest management plans (IPM). If passed, Durham and Orange Counties will join other municipalities in NC, Wake and Forsyth Counties and Elizabeth City, that have already adopted IPM plans.

IPM is a program that focuses pest management on prevention, monitoring, and control with the use of least toxic chemical pesticides only as a last resort. The program also includes a notification requirement based on the “right-to-know” principle and informs all school staff, students and parents before and after a hazardous pesticide is used. Overall, an IPM program will drastically reduce if not eliminate the use of pesticides as well as minimize children’s exposure.

Billie Karel, program coordinator for ARC, told a reporter from The Herald Sun, "’Our basic stance is that there's no such thing as a safe pesticide for children. Kids and pesticides don't mix, and a lot of medical science has indicated that. It's an important and positive step for school systems to reduce or eliminate their chemicals altogether.’"

According to an ARC survey of 60 North Carolina school districts, 43 percent of school districts reported using pesticides regularly in classrooms; 3 percent of school districts reported notifying parents when pesticides were used at school; and districts with IPM least-toxic pest control programs spent $1.49 per student per year while the other school districts spent $1.77 per student per year on pest control.

ARC is a longstanding member of the School Pesticide Reform Coalition (SPRC).

TAKE ACTION: Find out what state laws and local policies govern your school. Contact Beyond Pesticides to learn how to get your school to adopt an IPM program by:

(1) Identifying the school's pest management policy;
(2) Educating yourself and evaluating the program;
(3) Organizing the school community;
(4) Working with school decision-makers; and,
(5) Becoming a watchdog and establishing an IPM Committee.

If your school already has an IPM program in place or other laws regarding pesticide use or right-to-know, find out if they are complying. Work with your school to see what is being done and what still needs to get done. For more information, see Beyond Pesticides' Children and Schools issue pages.