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- Background on the Healthy Schools Act
- What the Healthy Schools Act means for you
- What is integrated pest management (IPM)?
- Find information on pesticide hazards
- Examples of school IPM programs
The Healthy Schools Act put into law right-to-know requirements such as notification, posting, and recordkeeping for pesticides used at public schools and public and private child day care facilities (excluding family day care homes). The Healthy Schools Act also requires pesticide use reporting by licensed pest control businesses that work in schools and child day care facilities. Additionally, pesticides with a conditional, interim, or experimental use registration that also contain a new active ingredient or is for a new use are prohibited from being used on a school site or child day care facility. A pesticide is also prohibited if it has been canceled, suspended, or phased out. more...
- Overview of California IPM in Schools Program
- Healthy Schools Act (HSA) text, (PDF, 105 kb) - Text from the California Education Code, Food & Agriculture Code and Health & Safety Code related to the Healthy Schools Act.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Healthy Schools Act (July 2010)
color (PDF, 234 kb) b&w (PDF, 230 kb)
What the Healthy Schools Act Means for You
- Annual Notifications of Pesticide Use
The Healthy Schools Act requires each school IPM coordinator to notify parents of all pesticide products expected to be applied during the upcoming year. These notifications must identify the active ingredient or ingredients in each product, as well as the product name itself. Remember that there are usually many products that contain a given active ingredient. Also, there is occasionally more than one active ingredient in a product. If a school site plans to use a product that was not listed in the annual notification, the school designee must notify all parents at least 72 hours before application.
Certain pesticides are exempt from posting, notification, or recordkeeping under the law. The categories of products exempted are:
- Self-contained baits and traps.
- Gels or pastes used for crack-and-crevice treatments.
- Products listed as minimum-risk pesticides by the U.S. EPA.
- Notifications Before Each Pesticide Treatment
School IPM coordinators must notify interested parents of planned pesticide treatments at least 72 hours before each application. In practice, this means that parents should receive a letter each year asking if they would like to register to receive these notifications. If they register, they should receive some kind of notification (for example, an e-mail or a letter sent home with students) before any pesticide treatments are used on school grounds. The notices must include product name, active ingredient(s), and intended date of application. Certain pesticides are exempt from notification under the law.
- Look up active ingredients from product names. DPR product/label databases.
- Warning Signs
The Healthy Schools Act requires each school site to post warning signs 24 hours before treatment at each site where pesticides will be applied. The signs must remain for 72 hours after the application.
- School recordkeeping
Pesticide use at school is a matter of public record. The Healthy Schools Act requires each school site to maintain records of all nonexempt pesticide use at the school site for a period of four years, and to make this information available to the public upon request. A school site may meet these requirements, for example, by retaining a copy of the warning sign posted for each application. This is the simplest option, but some schools may choose a more sophisticated written or computer-based logging system.
Note that some pesticide products are exempt from recordkeeping.
- Statewide School Pesticide Use Data
California’s pesticide use reporting (PUR) program is recognized as the most comprehensive in the world. The Healthy Schools Act will increase the reach of the PUR databases to specifically track pesticides used in specific school environments. These new reporting requirements take effect January 1, 2002, and will require more detailed use reports, on an annual basis, from licensed pest control businesses treating for pests on school sites.
- Regulations on school pesticide use reporting (PDF, 10 kb)
- Voluntary Integrated Pest Management (IPM) at Your School
DPR and the Healthy Schools Act encourage voluntary adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) programs by all California school districts. IPM is a problem-solving approach to pest management that allows pest managers to minimize the use of pesticides. Parents can promote least-hazardous pest management programs by encouraging their school district to develop an IPM policy. A clear IPM policy statement serves as a public agreement on how pest control will be performed.
- Sample School IPM Policy (PDF, 10 kb)
What Is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)? legislative text
Integrated pest management (IPM) is a widely accepted approach to pest management that results in effective suppression of pest populations while minimizing human health and environmental hazards.
- Radcliffe’s IPM Textbook An extensive online resource.
- Information of IPM Resources, Oregon State University Includes many definitions of IPM.
- Evolution of IPM, US Dept. of Agriculture A short history of IPM.
Information on Pesticide Hazards
DPR protects public health and the environment with the nation’s most rigorous and comprehensive program to regulate pesticide use. DPR’s strict oversight includes product evaluation and registration, environmental monitoring, residue testing of fresh produce, worker health and safety, and local use enforcement through the county agricultural commissioners.
Still, some pesticides pose lesser risks than others. It is important to remember that risk depends as much on exposure as it does on toxicity. For example, a tiny amount of highly toxic pesticide contained in a sealed bait may pose less risk than a low-toxicity pesticide sprayed in the classroom. Therefore, regulation of pesticides does not focus solely on assessing toxicity but also on managing risk by controlling exposure.
DPR is committed to promoting effective, least-hazardous pest management approaches. For this reason, we recommend that measures to prevent pest infestations always be given first priority. If pesticide use is necessary, consult an authoritative source of pest management recommendations (such as publications by DPR or the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program). You may also check information on toxicity or exposure yourself. Below are some helpful resources.
- Look up information on environmental and health effects of pesticides EXTOXNET, produced by a consortium of universities.
- Regulating Pesticides: Who, Why and How? (PDF, 66 kb) (DPR Publication)
- Other links on pesticide hazards
Examples of School IPM Programs
"Ask someone who has done it." DPR has supported a number of school IPM programs through its Pest Management Alliance grant programs, and has recognized others through its IPM Innovator Awards. DPR has also awarded Pest Management Grants to several school-related demonstration projects.
Resources:Pest Management Alliance Grants
- A Model Integrated Pest Management Plan for Schools (Marin County, 2000)
- To Develop Tools to Overcome Barriers to Implementing a Successful IPM program for Schools (Self-Insured Schools of California, 1998)
- Kids in Gardens (2000-01)
- Capacity Building on IPM in Urban Agriculture in Bay Area Public Schools and Surrounding Low-Income Communities (1998-99)
- Establishing IPM Programs to Reduce Pesticide Use in Public Buildings (1996-97)
- Establishing IPM Programs to Reduce Pesticide Use in Public Buildings (1995-96)
- The Los Angeles Unified School District, 2007
- The Ventura Unified School District, 2003
- The Kern Union High School District, 2002
- The Novato Unified School District, 2001
- The Placer Hills Union School District, 1996
- The New Haven Unified School District, 1996
- The Los Angeles, Fremont, and San Diego City Unified School Districts, 1994