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MISUSE OF PESTICIDES IN SCHOOLS

Beyond Pesticides/National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, co-author of the new report, "Poisoned Schools: Invisible Threats, Visible Action", calling on schools across the nation to adopt alternative pest management practices that replace pesticides with non-toxic methods.

The report identifies the hazards associated with school pesticide use, the current lack of governmental protection and the steps to a safer learning environment. To build on growing public awareness of the problems and solutions to school poisoning, Beyond Pesticides joined with other community-based organizations to release this report under the banner "Childproofing Our Communities".

According to Beyond Pesticides, over 100 communities nationwide have taken steps to remove pesticides from school buildings and grounds. "It is time for all children to learn in an environment that is free of toxic chemicals," said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. Beyond Pesticides, in its report, "The Schooling of State Pesticide Laws - 2000" , documents limited protection provided children from pesticides under existing state laws. The organization has worked with hundreds of organizations across the country, resulting in the adoption of state laws addressing this problem in 31 states. However, state laws are uneven across the country, resulting in a mixture of pesticide restrictions and parental notification, posting of warning signs when pesticides are used, and Integrated Pest Management systems. "The violence of the toxic assault on children in their schools needs greater public attention," said Kagan Owens, program director of Beyond Pesticides.

Beyond Pesticides' Healthy Schools Program focuses on providing all children with a basic right to a safe learning environment, free of hazardous chemicals. To do this Beyond Pesticides has an extensive program that has developed and educates on the School Environment Protection Act (introduced in Congress), monitors state laws, has developed a model school policy (incorporated in Poisoned Schools), publishes educational materials for parents and school administrators, tracks students and school staff that have been poisoned by school pesticide use, and advocates the adoption of programs and policies that protect children.

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Written by: Beyond Pesticides/National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides


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