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The School Environmental Protection Act (SEPA)

by Josh Vincent — last modified Jan 27, 2012 07:02 PM
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A new bill that would provide a minimum national standard to protect kids by reducing pesticide use in their places of learning.

The School Environment Protection Act of 2012 (SEPA), which will be introduced by Representative Rush Holt in January 2012, ensures a healthy learning environment for children through the management of school buildings and school grounds without toxic pesticides. Please contact Rep. Holt's office and sign-on as an original cosponsor of this important legislation.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Academy of Sciences, World Health Organization (WHO), and American Public Health Association, among others, have voiced concerns about the danger that pesticides pose to children. Children are especially sensitive to pesticide exposures as they take in more pesticides relative to their body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that are more vulnerable and less able to detoxify toxic chemicals.

Pesticide poisoning of student and school staff is not uncommon. A 2005 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association finds that students and school employees are being poisoned by pesticide use at schools. The study authors noted the lack of protection for school children and employees under federal law, pointing out that state laws provide some protection but are varied, thus leaving large gaps. SEPA would require all public schools adopt integrated pest management (IPM) programs that emphasize non-chemical pest management strategies and only use defined least-toxic pesticides as a last resort. 

Please contact Rep. Holt or Aisha Morris in Rep. Holt's office to sign-on as an original cosponsor.