Daily News Archive
From November 7, 2006                                                                                                        

Salt Lake City Schools Recognized for Reducing Risks from Pests and Pesticides
(Beyond Pesticides, November 7, 2006)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented Salt Lake City (SLC) School District with an Award of Recognition for implementing an integrated pest management (IPM) program that reduces pests and the use of pesticides. Traditionally SLC schools have combated pests in public schools by scheduled, monthly treatments of toxic pesticides, but found it is not cost effective and can expose children and school employees to dangerous chemicals and pests.

The district began using IPM just over a year ago and has demonstrated approximately 90% reduction in pesticide use and over a 50% decrease in pests complaints, without significantly increasing staff workload or district expense. The pest management program is successful because the ways used to reduce pests and the strategies to keep them from entering schools can be incorporated into the existing custodial and maintenance activities such as sanitation, energy conservation, building security and infrastructure maintenance. Teachers and custodial staff share the responsibility for recognizing potential problem areas, working closely with the district’s pest management professionals to prevent infestations from developing.

“If we could bottle Salt Lake's commitment to children and their competence in doing this, we could help kids all over the United States,” Marc Lame, Ph.D., an entomologist from Indiana University who worked on the project told the Salt Lake Tribune. Of the 48 commonly used pesticides in schools, 22 are probable or possible carcinogens, 26 have been shown to cause reproductive effects, 31 damage the nervous system, 31 injure the liver or kidney, 41 are sensitizers or irritants, and 16 can cause birth defects.

The pest management program the school district now uses is the “Monroe IPM Model.” Originally developed in Monroe County, IN, this approach has been successfully implemented in Arizona, Alabama, California, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Washington. Salt Lake City School District provides IPM education through training, demonstrating technological and program planning innovations, developing and disseminating outreach materials, conducting audits of pesticide use and pest management costs, and by outlining a tangible process for the mitigation of risk to the school community.

Dr. Lame has worked collaboratively with Beyond Pesticides on several projects and made a presentation at the 24th National Pesticide Forum in Washington, DC. For a video of Dr. Lame’s session, “Getting Pesticides Out of Schools: From policy through implementation,” contact Beyond Pesticides. To view his Powerpoint presentation, view the Forum webpage.