SJEJA – Pesticides

for more information, please visit the NJ EF’s site on Pesticides

Governor Signs School Pesticide Reduction Act

– the strongest school pesticide legislation in the nation

SCHOOL PESTICIDE BILL PASSES (from left) Phil Cooper, NJ Pest Management Association, NJEF’s Pesticide Campaign Coordinator Jane Nogaki, Senator Barbara Buono, Governor McGreevey, Senator John Matheussen, Assemblyman Joe Roberts, and Assemblywoman Linda Stender

Environmentalists, health and industry professionals, teachers and school boards applauded Governor McGreevey and bill sponsors Senator Barbara Buono, Senator John Mattheussen, Assemblyman Joseph Roberts and Assemblywoman Linda Stender for enacting the School Integrated Pest Management Act (S-137, A2841) a bill to cut toxic pesticide use in schools. The bill was voted out of the Senate on September 30th and cleared the Assembly on October 28th. It was signed into law in early December.

This legislation puts New Jersey in the lead in protecting children from the hazards of pesticides in schools,” said Jane Nogaki, Pesticide Program Coordinator for the New Jersey Environmental Federation. “We applaud the Governor for signing this piece of legislation which is more comprehensive and more protective of children’s health than in any other state. NJ now has the strongest school pesticide legislation in the nation.”

Under the Act, private and public schools would be discouraged from routine toxic pesticide applications, operate under a common definition and policy of “lest toxic” Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and give 72 hours written advance notice to parents and staff when pesticides are applied. A seven-hour period must elapse after a pesticide application before children re-occupy a pesticide treated area.

According the health experts, children are vulnerable to pesticides hazards and shouldn’t be exposed to them during their school day. Fortunately, techniques exist to control most pest problems without using poisons. These techniques include preventive maintenance (sealing cracks, cleaning up food crumbs, fixing water leaks) mechanical traps and non-volatile baits only if necessary.

NJEF laid the groundwork for this legislation by organizing a broad coalition of support for IPM including the NJ Education Association, NJ School Boards Association, the NJ Pest Management Association, the National Center for Environmental Health Strategies, and Children’s Environmental Health Coalition. Key to the effort was the fact that many school districts have already implemented IPM policies or practices. School districts, including Cedar Grove, Evesham, Newark, Haddonfield, Belmar, Eastern Camden County Regional, and Hackensack, have virtually eliminated routine or “calendar” pesticide spraying. However, many school districts still have “pay to spray” contracts for monthly pesticide applications for indoor and outdoor pest control, whether needed or not.

Prior to the passage of this legislation, there were no federal or state regulations that require Integrated Pest Management in schools, or written advance notice of pesticide applications. The NJ law will take effect in June, 2003, after the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protections develops regulations and model policies for schools.

Please view our Pesticide Action Alert