Beyond Pesticides. Do you want to protect kids from pesticides in schools? Contact your Representative. January 24, 2012

Ask your U.S. Representative to sign-on as an original co-sponsor the School Environmental Protection Act (SEPA). Later this month, Rep. Rush Holt and colleagues will be introducing SEPA, a bill to protect children from pesticides in schools, and it is important that this legislation be introduced with as much support as possible. Please forward this email to your friends and family!

It is time that our nation embraces a basic protection to ensure a healthy learning environment, many of the standards that have been adopted in 35 states. More information, including your state's requirements, are available on Beyond Pesticides' SEPA webpage (bill text, summary, Mr. Holt’s “Dear Colleague” letter, and other useful information).

Need for Federal Legislation

Children need better protection from toxic chemical exposure while at school. Numerous scientific studies find that pesticides used in schools are linked to cancer, asthma and other health problems. A 2010 Harvard University study links everyday pesticide exposure to ADHD. While some states have taken limited action to protect children from pesticides in schools, these policies represent a patchwork of laws that are uneven and inadequate. SEPA would provide a minimum national standard to protect kids in their places of learning.
SEPA Summary

--  SEPA requires that all public schools adopt defined integrated pest management (IPM) programs for buildings that emphasize non-chemical pest management strategies and only use least-toxic pesticides as a last resort.
-- Requires organic management of school grounds and playing fields, and prohibits synthetic fertilizers due to their adverse impact on healthy soils, plants, and turf, and associated environmental impacts.

--  Least-toxic pesticides do not include: carcinogens, reproductive and developmental toxicants, nervous and immune system poisons, endocrine disruptors, or have data gaps or missing information on health effects, as well as outdoor pesticides that adversely affect wildlife, have high soil mobility, or are groundwater contaminants.

--  The bill establishes a 12-member National School IPM Advisory Board that, with the help of a technical advisory panel, will develop school IPM standards and a list of allowable least-toxic pesticide products.

--  It requires each state to develop its IPM plan as part of its existing state cooperative agreement with the U.S. EPA.

--  A public health emergency provision allows the use of a pesticide, if warranted. In this case, notification of the pesticide application is required to be provided to all parents of students and school staff.