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by California Safe Schools (NON-PROFIT) Friday, Aug. 20, 2004 at 11:24 AM

2004 School Environmental Checklist Helps Parents & Schools


Contact: Robina Suwol, Executive Director

California Safe Schools


mobile: 818-261-7965

Federal Funding Needed for School Remediation & Renovation.

2004 School Environmental Checklist Helps Parents and Schools

Evaluate Conditions, Prevent Hazards and Create Healthy Schools.

Los Angeles, Ca. - A broad coalition of educational, environmental, health and civic organizations will release a 2004 School Environmental Checklist August 23, 2004 across the country. The Checklist is designed to help parents, students and teachers evaluate environmental problems in their school, such as polluted indoor air and toxic pesticide use. This new tool also provides resources to develop a precautionary action plan to prevent environmental hazards, protect children’s health, and improve school safety. The coalition called upon the Bush Administration and Congress to reform and to fund school facilities so that every child and every school employee—20% of the American population—has a healthy, hazard-free, and energy-efficient workplace.

Schools are our children’s workplaces for more than 40 hours a week. Poor indoor air quality, including exposure to toxic chemicals and allergens, may lead to increased hyperactivity, asthma, learning disabilities, environmental sensitivities, and other chronic health problems.

National organizational leaders are calling on the Bush Administration and Members of Congress to allocate federal funds for states to conduct school health and safety repairs and renovations, and to fund the Healthy High Performance School Act in "No Child Left Behind" at a minimum of million a year. This annual Department of Education appropriation would activate a grant program to help states show schools how to design and engineer healthier and more energy efficient facilities.

"California Safe Schools is proud to support the Be Safe Campaign Platform & Back to School Checklist. As scientists continue to find links between individual genes and diseases, they are also discovering that particular substances in the environment can "turn off" or "turn on" these genes. Eliminating environmental toxins in our schools is key to preventing harm .That's why in 1999 California Safe Schools worked with Los Angeles Unified School District (2nd largest school district in USA) to create the most stringent pesticide policy in the nation for schools. The policy was the first in the United States to embrace the Precautionary Principle and includes Parents Right to Know. The policy has become a model for school districts and communities throughout the nation, " said Robina Suwol, the Executive Director of California Safe Schools




It is the policy of the Los Angeles Unified School District (District) to practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM). All aspects of this program will be in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations, and county ordinances. All District policies must conform to this IPM policy.

Pesticides pose risks to human health and the environment, with special risks to children. It is recognized that pesticides cause adverse health effects in humans such as cancer, neurological disruption, birth defects, genetic alteration, reproductive harm, immune system dysfunction, endocrine disruption and acute poisoning. Pests will be controlled to protect the health and safety of students and staff, maintain a productive learning environment and maintain the integrity of school buildings and grounds. Pesticides will not be used to control pests for aesthetic reasons alone. The safety and health of students, staff and the environment will be paramount.

Further, it is the goal of the District to provide for the safest and lowest risk approach to control pest problems while protecting people, the environment and property. The District’s IPM Policy incorporates focusing on long-term prevention and will give non-chemical methods first consideration when selecting appropriate pest control techniques. The District will strive to ultimately eliminate the use of all chemical controls.

The "Precautionary Principle" is the long-term objective of the District. The principle recognizes that:

a) no pesticide product is free from risk or threat to human health, and

b) industrial producers should be required to prove that their pesticide products demonstrate an absence of the risks enumerated in paragraph two (2) rather than requiring that the government or the public prove that human health is being harmed.

This policy realizes that full implementation of the Precautionary Principle is not possible at this time and may not be for decades. But the District commits itself to full implementation as soon as verifiable scientific data enabling this becomes available.


A Pest Management Team will serve to provide guidance and verification regarding processes program implementation, and will recommend resolutions for District policies that conflict with this policy. Decisions will be made by a simple majority of all Pest Management Team members voting at meetings. A quorum often (10) members must be present to convene a meeting. The Pest Management Team will be appointed within forty-five (45) calendar days of adoption of the policy. The first meeting of the Pest Management Team must be attended by all members and convened within thirty (30) calendar days of the Team’s appointment. The Pest Management Team will decide the frequency of subsequent meetings.

The administration of this program will be conducted by a District-appointed IPM Coordinator. The IPM Coordinator will be an existing District staff position.

The Pest Management Team will be comprised of fifteen (15) independent members: one District non-management representative from Maintenance and Operations, one District representative from Environmental Health and Safety Branch, one District representative from Food Services, the District IPM Coordinator, one IPM expert, two parents of District-enrolled students, two community members, one public health representative, two environmental representatives, one District teacher, one District principal, and one medical practitioner

The Board of Education’s School Safety and Campus Environment Committee must approve all assignments to this Pest Management Team by a simple majority of all members. Selection of the initial Pest Management Team nominees will be the responsibility of groups whose members have participated in and attended at least two (2) of the Policy Development Committee meetings. Thereafter, nominations will be submitted to the Pest Management Team by the fifteen (15) named constituencies.

Nominations to a particular slot must be made by a member of that slot’s constituency. Pest Management Team membership will be solicited through the Spotlight, recognized parent and teachers organizations, unions, and notification and outreach other independent community groups. Nominations will be screened by the Pest Management Team, then submitted to the School Safety and Campus Environmental Committee for approval at a public meeting.

Pest Management Team members will be randomly divided into two (2) classes of seven (7) and eight (8), comprised as closely as possible of equal numbers of District staff and non-District staff Pest Management Team member constituencies. The seats of the first class shall be vacated after the expiration of the second year; of the second class, at the expiration of the third year, so that approximately one-half may be chosen every year and if vacancies happen by resignation; otherwise, the School Safety and Campus Environmental Committee may make appointments to fill the vacated seats consistent with the fifteen (15) constituency groups. With the exception of the first term of the second class, Pest Management Team terms will be two (2) years.


Product used at the District must be first approved by the Pest Management Team following a careful review of contents, precautions, and low risk methods. In the interim between adoption of this policy and establishment of the Pest Management Team, pest management product use and approval decisions will be made by the District IPM Coordinator in conjunction with the independent IPM expert.

All purchasing of pesticides to be used on District sites or property will require the approval of the IPM Coordinator. Only persons specifically authorized by the IPM Coordinator are permitted to bring or apply pesticides on District sites or property; other site employees and non­employees are not permitted to bring or apply pesticides on District property.

Products will be divided into two classifications:

1. Products approved by the Pest Management Team by a simple majority of all members for use at the discretion of the pest control technician within the guidelines of this IPM program. This will be called the "Approved List" The Approved List will adhere to the "Pest Management Methods and Product Selection Guidelines" (see Appendix A).

2. Products not on the Approved List whose use requires the written approval of the IPM Coordinator and an independent IPM expert (approved by the Pest Management Team) when reduced risk methods are unsuccessful. Use of products not on the Approved List will be reported to and reviewed by the Pest Management Team on a case-by-case basis.


Training of personnel is critical to the success of an IPM program (see Appendix B). All District personnel and contractors. including facilities personnel principals, teachers, parents, students, and the public, have roles and responsibilities in carrying out this IPM program. Training documentation will be reported to the Pest Management Team.


The following is the preferred order in which pest management will be implemented:

1. Establish area pest management objectives, e.g., kitchens,

playgrounds, classrooms, etc.

2. Establish pest threshold levels.

3. Initiate behavioral modification.. including improved sanitation.

4. Utilize pest prevention methods, such as structural modification, and/or

employ progressive non-chemical methods and techniques, including

pest monitoring and tapping.

5. Employ reduced risk progressive pesticide selection as a last resort.


The District will notify parents, employees and students of all pesticide applications using the following guidelines:

1. The District will provide annual notification to parents or guardians in the "Registation Packet" distributed at the beginning of each school year or upon enrollment. Notification will include:

a) the IPM policy statement

b) the Approved List;

c) the availability of IPM activity records in the main office of each


d) a request that parents or guardians notify the school principal if their

child’s health and/or behavior would be influenced by exposure to

pesticide products; and

e) a mechanism by which parents or guardians can request notification of all pesticide applications.

2. The Approved List will be conspicuously posted annually in the main office of each site and remain posted throughout the year.

3. Applications of Products not on the Approved List will be preceded by a 72-hour notification to parent or guardians, and school staff, except for emergencies as determined by the IPM coordinator and an independent IPM expert (approved by the Pest Management Team). Notification will include:

a) the product name and active ingredient;

b) the target pest;

c) the date of pesticide use;

d) the signal word indicating the toxicity category or the pesticide;

e) a contact for more information; and

f) the availability of further information at the schools main office.

4. Signs shall be conspicuously posted around any area where pesticides not on the Approved List are to be applied in a non-emergency situation at least 72-hours before and for five (5) half-lives after any pesticide application. In the event of an emergency as determined in number three (3) above, posting will go up at the time of the application. Signs shall Include the information listed in number three (3) above.


An IPM procedures manual will be written to implement this policy. This manual will be presented to the Pest Management Team for review and approval within nine (9) months after adoption of this policy.


Pest Management Methods and Product Selection Guidelines

I. Pest management methods and product selection will be based on the following principles:

a) In embracing the Precautionary Principle, the District will use only those pest management methods or products demonstrated to be the safest and lowest risk to children, and strive to use products that demonstrate an absence of the following health effects: cancer, neurological disruption, birth defects, genetic alteration, reproductive harm, immune system dysfunction, endocrine disruption and acute poisoning.

b) In those instances where pesticide products fall outside of these specific guidelines, the District’s decisions on pest management methods or product selection will conform to the spirit and intent of this policy and these guidelines.

c) The District will use only those pest management products that can be applied in a manner at a time where no person will inhale or come into direct contact with them, or be exposed to volatile agents

d) The Approved List and categories in Section II will be reviewed and approved annually by the Pest Management Team.

e) A proposed time line for phase out of products that will not qualify for the Approved List will be presented to the Pest Management Team for review and approval at their first meeting.

II. Only pest management products that fall within the following categories will be placed on the Approved List:

• insecticide or rodenticide baits and traps;

• caulking agents and crack sealants:

• borates, silicates, and diaromaceous earth;

• soap-based products;

• products on the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) 25(b) list (40 CFR 152.25(g)(1)] or the California Certified Organic Farmers organic list

• cryogenics. electronic products, heat, and lights:

• biological controls, such as parasites and predators;

• microbial pesticides;

• insect growth regulators;

• physical barriers.

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