Integrated Pest Management in Schools
The reduction of pesticide use around school-aged children has become a hot legislative topic, pushed vehemently by activist groups who are encouraging all states to implement State-mandated requirements. The basis for the School IPM mandates is the concern that children may be more susceptible to toxic substances, and may have a cumulative exposure to pesticides in their activities in school, on playgrounds, or in the home.
The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed guidelines on School IPM, and it is expected that there will be federal mandates in the future. At this time, however, it has been left up to each state to develop the guidelines or legislation appropriate to its own boundaries with respect to pesticide use in schools.
These guidelines, if there are any, usually address the following areas:
- Reduced or discontinued use of the more toxic organophosphate insecticides
- Encouraged use of "least hazardous" pesticides and the many newer products often classified as "exempt" pesticides
- Notification of the parents of students at the schools, often in two formats
- Notification of all parents once each year
- Notification of those parents who request it prior to each application
- Posting of areas to be treated, prior to the application, following the application, or both
- A written IPM Policy in place for each school, and in use by the pesticide applicators for that site, whether they are commercial applicators or school employees
- Mandatory provision of product Labels and MSDSs to the school administration
- Pesticide Use Records maintained by the school site, and sometimes reported separately to regulatory agencies
To determine the status of School IPM programs for your state please select the desired state from the drop-down list below. If your state is encouraging "voluntary" School IPM you can go to the EPA websites below for complete information on what School IPM should entail. If you need certain forms for purposes of posting treatment areas or for notification of parents, you can access the forms specific for your state, or use the "generic" forms provided by the University of Florida (link below) if your state has no mandated ones of their own.