Michigan—School Policies


I. Restricted Spray Zones Around School Property


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

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

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.

State Information

Michigan Pesticide Use Regulation, section 285.637.11 of the Michigan Administrative Code, requires posting by the commercial applicator making a broadcast, failure, or space application of restricted-use insecticide to a day-care center or school. Schools, including public or private, kindergarten through 12th grade, must post a sign at the primary point of entry to the building. Posting is required upon completion of the application and remain posted for at least 48 hours.

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.

State Information

Michigan Administrative Code, section 285.637.11, requires commercial applicators applying a broadcast, failure or space restricted use pesticides to turf or ornamentals to post notification signs. Signs are to be posted immediately following the application and remain posted for 24 hours.

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 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 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.

State Information

Michigan Regulation No. 637, Pesticide Use, section 285.637.15 of the Michigan Administrative Code, requires the school district’s administrator to provide written information to parents or guardians of students of the school or day-care center on how to be included on the list for prior notification. This information is given at the beginning of the school year, in September for a day-care center, or when a new student enrolls. Prior notification is provided by mail or by telephone and given 24 hours before the application. During the months when school is not in regular session, school administrators may utilize a message notification system.

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.

State Information

Michigan Administrative Code, regulation no. 637 Pesticide Use, section 285.637.15, restricts the type of pesticides to be used in and around schools and day-care facilities. Neither liquid spray nor aerosol insecticide can be used in a school unless the area is unoccupied by students at least 4 hours after the application. It also does not permit outdoor ornamental and turf applications of liquid spray pesticides be made within 100 feet of an occupied room or building during school hours or when people are using the application area.

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 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

Michigan has one of the weaker official definitions of IPM. For a pesticide application in schools, the applicator must be trained in IPM. Detailed elements of the training, found in Regulation No. 637 Pesticide Use, section 285.637.14 of the Michigan Administrative Code, are similar to the main methods associated with IPM, but does not give priority to non-chemical approaches. Michigan requires IPM plans be developed for indoor pest management only.

Michigan Department of Agriculture, Regulation No. 637 Pesticide Use, 285.637.14-15

Michigan Compiled Laws, 1994 PA 451, 324.8316: Notice of Pesticide Application at School or Day Care Center

An Act to Amend 1994 PA 451


Ann Arbor Public Schools
Date Passed: December 1989
IPM: Biological control methods are given priority over pesticides, "synthetic chemical pesticides" are used as a last resort.
Notification: See state law above.
Prohibitions of Use: Herbicides and pesticides will not be applied in areas where individuals are, or will be, present for 12 hours.
School Contact: Ann Arbor Public Schools, 2555 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48106

Detroit Cass Technical High School, Detroit Public School System
Date Passed: No official policy, program started in 1997.
IPM: Following a science fair project, students were awarded a grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture to run the school's IPM program, with the help of Praxis, a biological control firm that does not use chemical pesticides. Students inspect the school three times a week to check traps and make sure the building is structurally uninviting for pests.
School Contact: Lenora Ashford, Director of the Science Department: (313) 596-3900
Cass Technical High School, 2421 2nd Blvd, Detroit, MI 48201. Phone: (313) 596-3900, Fax: (313) 596-3877

Grand Rapids Public Schools
Date Passed: Unknown.
IPM: "The underlying principle of this plan is to use the least toxic alternative [to pest management] first." The district's policy defines IPM as giving preference to non-chemical and least-toxic methods of pest control. "Broad spectrum" pesticides are used as a last resort.
Posting Notification Signs: See state law above.
Prior Written Notification: See state law above. In an emergency pesticides will be applied without prior notification, but notice will be given following the pesticide application.
School Contact: Nathan McCormick, Manager of Custodial/Grounds Operations Department,
Phone: 616-771-3010
Grand Rapids Public Schools, 1331 Franklin SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-0117. Phone: 616-771-2000

Washtenaw Intermediate Schools
Date passed: 2001
IPM: The school district's pest management program is designed to manage buildings and grounds in such a way that minimizes the need for pest control and protects individuals from unnecessary exposure to herbicides/pesticides.
Posting Notification Signs: See state law above.
Prior Written Notification: The school district has established a registry for all parents, guardians and employees who wish to be notified of pesticide applications. In an emergency, the previous stated prior notifications rules do not apply. A sign will be posted and letters sent out after the application.
Prohibitions of Use: Pesticides will not be applied where individuals are present, or will be present for the next 12 hours.
Other: The school district's Green Space Committee has been developing a Native Landscaping Project to reduce the district's use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Site preparation began in the spring of 2002 and planting will begin in the fall of 2002.
School Contact: Brian Marcel, Assistant Superintendent, Business Services
Washtenaw Intermediate School District, 1819 South Wagner Road, PO Box 1406, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1406
Phone: (734) 994-8100 ext.1402

EnviroSafe, Inc. manages the following schools pest management programs without using any chemical pesticides. For more information on their programs, contact Bob Stoddard for for information,

EnviroSafe, Inc., PO Box 151011, Grand Rapids, MI 49515-1011. Phone: 1-800-226-0418, Fax: (616) 364-1891, Email: [email protected], http://envirosafeipm.com

Allendale Public Schools
Birmingham Public Schools
Rockford Public Schools

Get Set, Inc.
manages the following schools pest management programs without using any chemical pesticides. For more information on their programs, contact Steve Tvedten,

Get Set, Inc., 2530 Hayes Street, Marne, MI 49435-9752. Email: [email protected], Phone: 1-800-221-6188
http://www.thebestcontrol.com & http://www.getipm.com

Bangor Public Schools
Coopersville Area Public Schools
East Jordan Public Schools
Fremont Public Schools
Fruitport Community Schools
Godwin Heights Public Schools
Grand Haven Area Public Schools
Grand Rapids Public Schools
Greenville Public Schools
Harbor Springs Public Schools
Kalamazoo Public Schools
Muskegon Area Intermediate School District
Paw Paw Public Schools
Reeths-Puffer Schools
Saranac Community Schools
Shelby Public Schools
Sturgis Public Schools
Sylvan Christian School
Waverly Community Schools
West Ottawa Public Schools

manages the following schools pest management programs without using any chemical pesticides. For more information on their programs, contact Sam DeFazio,

Praxis, 2723 116th Avenue, Allegan, Michigan 49010-9095. Phone: (616) 673-2793, Email: [email protected]

Detroit Cass Technical High School, Detroit Public Schools
Emerson Elementary, Saginaw Public Schools
Saginaw High School, Saginaw Public Schools

Other Schools With IPM/Notification Policies:
Southfield Public Schools
Walter French Academy


Local Motion
343 South Main Street, Suite 206
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: (734) 623-0773
Email: [email protected]
Local Motion: How Integrated Pest Management will Reduce the Need for Pesticides in Schools

Ecology Center
Environmental Health Project
117 North Division
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: (734) 663-2400
Fax: (734) 663-2414
Email: [email protected]

Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912
Phone: (517) 487-9539
Fax: (517) 487-9541
Email: [email protected]

For more contacts to local organizations, visit our Links to Local Organizations.

For more information contact
Beyond Pesticides, 701 E Street, S.E., Suite 200, Washington, DC, 20003, [email protected]