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E-M:/ Pesticides in Our Schools

Pesticides in Our Schools – Michigan and Everywhere

Leaders from environmental and health organizations target pesticide use in
schools as an invisible threat in a new report, Poisoned Schools: Invisible
Threats, Visible Actions.

Children across America are being exposed to hazardous environmental chemicals everyday. In schools, where families trust their children are safe and being protected from harm, children are being exposed to chemical poisons. “Children are not just small adults. They ingest 5-14 times more pesticides per pound than adults and we should do everything humanly possible to protect” said Bethany Renfer, Program Coordinator, Clean Water Action.

A coalition of Michigan environmental groups and health professionals are promoting the reduction of pesticide use in and around schools and public buildings.  We are encouraging the public to contact their local school boards and ask them to phase-out the use of toxic pesticides through the implementation of an integrated pest management program (IPM).  While Michigan has a law that requires schools and public buildings to adopt IPM programs, a survey conducted earlier this year by Clean Water Action, the Ecology Center, Michigan Environmental Council, and West Michigan Environmental Action Council, found that many schools across the state were using pesticides.

Exposure to environmental chemicals at school during critical developmental periods has been linked to childhood cancers, asthma, learning disabilities, and hyperactive behavior disorders. School based pesticides use, which are chemicals that are intended to kill pests, expose children to these poisonous chemicals through inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through the skin, on the playground, and in the residue.  In many cases, parents, teachers, and school employees are not informed or warned when pesticides are used.

The Poisoned Schools: Invisible Threats, Visible Actions Report details how such a program can work and provides a model policy for adoption and implementation of a Gold Standard Integrated Pest Management System in schools.

For more information on pesticides and its impact on children, please visit the following web sites:

 www.childproofing.org  - to obtain copy of Poisoned Schools: Invisible Threat, Visible Actions Reports
 www.beyondpesticides.org  – Beyond Pesticide – National Coalition Against Misuse of Pesticides
 www.chej.org  – Center For Health, Environment and Justice
 www.preventingharm.org -- Clean Water Fund

For more information, Clean Water Action (517) 203-0754 or the Ecology Center (734) 663-2400 x108.