NCAP works to protect people from exposure to pesticides by stopping harmful pesticide approaches and advancing ecologically sound alternatives. The more we learn about pesticides, the more we understand that they are linked to serious health problems. Our program aims to safeguard community health by eliminating pesticide uses, and consequently, pesticide exposures.
In addition to providing technical information on pesticide risks and alternative methods for pest control, NCAP has projects specifically aimed at eliminating pesticide use in areas where people are most vulnerable. Primarily, these are areas where children are at risk for exposure: K-12 schools, public parks, and subsidized housing.
Schools, Pesticides & Children
For 180 days of the school year, kids are spending over 6 hours at school every day. The time spent on a school campus, along with a child’s susceptibility to environmental toxins are two reasons why it's important to design school environments that are healthy and safe. Unfortunately, many of our nations schools continue to routinely apply harmful chemical pesticides for aesthetic purposes.
A 2007 study of more than 29 school districts found that nearly half were in violation of legal requirements or policies relating to pest management. Three districts even still had illegal pesticides in storage, including DDT. The top five most frequently applied pesticides in schools and child care facilities were respiratory irritants and, therefore, asthma triggers.
IPM as a Solution
We believe the solution to this problem is to work with parents, teachers, school administrators and land managers to develop alternative ways to meet pest management challenges. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) emphasizes pest prevention and non-chemical pest control techniques. A recent project documented by the IPM Institute demonstrated that schools with quality IPM policies and practices have reduced pesticide use more than 90% while successfully managing pest problems.
NCAP continues to support pesticide free parks and long term policies to reduce pesticides, such as IPM plans, at public parks. We also provide technical assistance to parks departments who need help with alternatives to chemical pesticides or drafting a long term policy with ecological solutions.
Our success with protecting community and environmental health would not be possible without committed volunteers and residents asking their city to maintain the parks without harmful chemicals!
High occupancy multi-family housing and subsidized housing have some of the most dangerous self-treatment and concerning pesticide use (1). Low-income communities and people of color have higher asthma rates (2) and when pests and pesticides are asthma triggers, this lowers indoor air quality for a vulnerable population (3). We offer several resources for individuals and property managers to help reduce pests and pesticide use indoors, particularly bed bugs.
Along with these resources, NCAP is a member of the Healthy Homes Coalition of Multnomah County. The county runs a healthy homes program in coordination with a large group of partners, including other community-based organizations, medical providers, case managers and community health workers. Our participation in this workgroup focuses on public housing and toxics reductions, which have been demonstrated to reduce in-home environmental triggers. The County program has reduced by 2.5 times the likelihood of emergency room visits for children with poorly controlled asthma resulting in approximately $350,000 in annual healthcare cost savings. Multnomah County Health Department received an award from the EPA for their work to reduce asthma and has been honored as an exceptional asthma program with the National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management.
In addition, NCAP has entered into a partnership with researchers at University of Arizona to promote, encourage and support their work to analyze the impacts of bed bug on quality of life. The work will promote bed bug health with a well-being impact survey, analyzing data after 12 and 24 months.
Take the survey if you currently live with bed bugs, have dealt with them in the past, or have never experienced bed bugs. We are dedicated to helping community members who need it most, and sharing your experience will be extremely helpful to develop strategies to reduce the bed bug problems.
A resource for local governments on dealing with bedbugs:
This 39-page document is a starter guide for municipalities that teaches the tools available for controlling bedbugs, including non pesticidal solutions, how to get organized and how to evaluate goals. The document was created by students from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance from the University of Washington as a collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency. NCAP provided input for the guide.
(1) Sing, Wang and Cooper, 2013. "Effectiveness of a Reduced-Risk Insecticide Based Bed Bug Management Program in Low-Income Housing." LINK HERE
(2) 2008 Update: The Burden of Asthma in Washington State
(3) Gouge, et al, 2015. "Quality of life impacts of bed bug (Cimex lectularius L.) infestations"