Wisconsin—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

Wisconsin 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

Wisconsin Administrative Code, section 29.56, requires a person applying pesticides to turf or ornamentals on “public or commercial facilities,” parks, workplaces, recreational areas and public lands to post notification signs indoors and outdoors at the time of the application and remain posted for 72 hours. The applicator will provide information regarding the application upon request.

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

Wisconsin Administrative Code, section 29.56, requires a person applying pesticides to turf or ornamentals on “public or commercial facilities,” parks, workplaces, recreational areas and public lands to post notification signs indoors and outdoors at the time of the application and remain posted for 72 hours. The applicator will provide information regarding the application upon request.

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

Wisconsin does not have any statewide requirements for providing prior written notification of pesticide use.

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

Wisconsin does not have any state laws restricting school pesticide use.

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

Wisconsin does not have any statewide requirements for implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). If you have any information please contact us at [email protected].

Wisconsin School Pesticide Use Law



Waterford Graded School District
Date Passed: January 2001
IPM: The District shalll implement pest management procedures which reflect its commitment to healthy school environments and the health of the people.
Prior Written Notification: Annual written notification shall be given to students, staff, parents/guardians of the District's pest management policy and IPM procedures.
Other: Director of Buildings and Grounds responsible for pest management implementation.
Contact: Waterford Graded School District, 819 West Main Street, Waterford, WI 53185. Phone:(262) 514-8250,
Fax: (262) 514-8251

Go to Citizens for a Better Environment and Wisconsin's Environmental Decade website to find detailed information about your school's pesticide use:
Ashwaubenon School District
Forest Lane Elementary, Montello Junior and Senior High School, Montello
Lake Bluff School, Shorewood
Madison Metropolitan School District
Nicolet UHS School District
Neenah School District, Neenah

Other Schools with IPM/Notification Policies:

DC Everest Area Schools, Schofield
Fox Point – Bayside School District, Milwaukee
Lloyd Street Gloval Education School, Milwaukee
Newark Christian Academy, Beliot
Richmond School District, Sussex
Rio Elementary School, Rio Community School District
St. Patrick’s School, Mauston
St. Vincent De Paul, Wisconsin Rapids
Tomahawk School District, Tomahawk
21st Street Elementary School, Milwaukee


Citizens for a Better Environment
152 West Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 510
Milwaukee, WI 53203
Phone: (414) 271-7280
Fax: (414) 271-5904

Wisconsin Strategic Pesticide Information Project
122 State Street, Suite 200
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 251-7020
Fax: (608) 251-1655

IPM Institute of North America, Inc.
1914 Rowley Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
Phone: (608) 232-1528
Fax: (608) 232-1530
Email: [email protected]

Patricia Kandziora
School IPM Coordinator
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
Email: [email protected]
http://www.datcp.state.wi.us search "IPM"

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, [email protected]