July 8, 2002
School districts prepare for new pesticide notification
As of July 1, the Children's Pesticide Right to Know Act requires school districts to provide notice of the school's pest-control policies and methods, and post notices when pesticides are used.
Elements of the new law:
• Signs will be posted whenever pesticides are used at schools, indoors and outdoors.
• Signs will be posted in the main office 48 hours before pesticide use .
• School districts must notify at least the parents who request it 48 hours before pesticide use.
• School districts must keep records of all pesticide applications and prepare an annual summary of those records.
"Once parents know what pesticides are used in schools, they can work for a switch to safer alternatives. We encourage all parents to request notice before pesticides are applied at their child's school," said Lisa Bond, president of the Washington State PTA.
A number of school districts around the state have already adopted policies that ensure parents are notified and that reduce pesticide use. Vancouver School District, for example, passed a policy in March that notifies all parents 48 hours before pesticides are used, reduces overall pesticide use, and ends the use of the most hazardous pesticides. Oak Harbor, Sedro-Woolley, Mercer Island, and Chewelah school districts have also passed policies since the bill passed.
„School districts now have a great opportunity to put policies in place that make sure all parents know when pesticides are used,š said Erika Schreder, staff scientist with the Washington Toxics Coalition. „Pesticides pose a serious threat to the developing child, and every parent has a right to know when pesticides are sprayed at school.š