California Safe Schools
August 23, 2004


Los Angeles, Calif. -- A broad coalition of educational,
environmental, health and civic organizations releaseda 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 of the
American population has a healthy, hazard-free, and energy-efficient

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

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 $25 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

"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

* Copy of Groundbreaking Los Angeles Unified School District
Integrated Pest Management Policy below:

(Los Angeles Unified School District's Independent IPM Expert is
William Currie)




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,

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

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 non--employees 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


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

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,

employ progressive non-chemical methods and techniques, including

pest monitoring and tapping.

5. Employ reduced risk progressive pesticide selection as a last


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

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.

Contact: Robina Suwol, Executive Director
California Safe Schools


Coalition for Healthier Schools
and Center for Health, Environment & Justice