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 nation's schools continue to routinely apply harmful chemical pesticides for aesthetic purposes.
Unfortunately there is very little information kept on pesticide use and exposure in schools, making it difficult to monitor the true extent of the dangers to children. A study in 2007 did find that of 29 school districts surveyed, nearly half of them were in violation of legal requirements or policies relating to pest management. Three districts even 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!
An overview that can be shared to gain support for converting a neighborhood park to a pesticide-free park.
A thorough resource guide and step-by-step process to make your neighborhood park pesticide-free!