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Schools must adopt new plans to reduce pesticide use

By Steve Law
The Portland Tribune

Starting next week, Oregon schools must develop new “integrated pest management” plans, which are designed to reduce the use of toxic chemicals for pest control.

The requirement is based on a state law passed in 2009. The law doesn’t ban pesticides outright. But requiring integrated pest management helps “ensure that only chemicals with the least toxicity are applied,” says Renee Hackenmiller-Paradis, environmental health specialist with the Oregon Environmental Council, which lobbied for the bill.

"The idea is that through things like improved monitoring and sanitation, you can eliminate the root causes of pest problems,” says Josh Vincent, of the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides. “If done right, pesticides become largely unnecessary," he says.

Advocates for the 2009 law lamented that no state funds were provided to help school districts conduct training and move to the new approach to pesticides. However, advocates hope to rectify that. Meanwhile, the official task has fallen to Oregon State University to develop model plans and guidelines for schools.

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