American Legislative Exchange Council  [Printer-friendly version]
October 28, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: The chemical industry wants to halt a trend
sweeping the nation that is reducing children's exposure to chemical
pesticides in schools. Here is some of the industry's reasoning.]


Anti-chemical activists are pushing for bills to eliminate or
drastically reduce the use of pesticides in schools. Some measures
attempt to completely ban pesticides in schools, others attempt to
greatly reduce pesticides in schools, while others mandate onerous
paperwork requirements that discourage pesticide use.

The bills are unnecessary because the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency already requires extensive pesticide testing and conducts risk
assessments on various subpopulations, including children, to insure
that no sensitive individuals are at risk.

Additionally, the Food Quality Protection Act now requires that
manufacturers of pesticides specifically consider the possibility of
sensitivity to infants and children from exposure, which often
requires an extra 'safety protection factor' for use.

Exposure levels to humans from pesticide use are required to be at
least 100 times (required by law and sometimes this increases to 300
or even a 1000 times) below the no-observed adverse effect level in
the most sensitive species, using the most sensitive toxicological
endpoint. Thus, there is inherent conservatism in the permissible
exposure levels established for safe use by humans.

Pesticide restrictions in schools do more harm than good by failing to
balance the virtually nonexistent pesticide risks against the very
real harm done to children by allowing insects and rodents to thrive,
resulting in increased allergy and disease problems.

Talking Points:

* The Environmental Protection Agency rigorously tests all
commercial pesticides to ensure that children will not be harmed by
pesticide exposure.

* EPA errs on the side of extreme caution in its exposure
assumptions, resulting in maximum exposure levels that are typically
tens, hundreds, of even thousands of times less than what would be
necessary for any plausible health risk to exist.

* Pesticides play a vital role in protecting our children in
school. This is especially true considering that most schools provide
on-site lunch services that are a magnet for ants, roaches, rats and
other disease-spreading pests.

* So-called biological controls -- such as introducing spiders to
pray on cockroaches -- are far less effective than safe pesticide
treatments and introduce their own set of potential health problems.

* Cockroaches are among the most prevalent child allergens and
sources of asthma attacks, with 20 percent of all children being
allergic to cockroaches. Without proper pest control, cockroach feces
and decomposing cockroach bodies trigger severe allergy and asthma
episodes in homes and schools.

Additional Sources:

Assessing Health Risks from Pesticides, U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency.

Logomasini, A., "State Legislatures Face Anti-Pesticide Bills,"
Environment & Climate News, August 1, 2004

Milloy, S., "Pesticides Not a Threat to Students," August 9, 2005

Milloy, S., "Unwarranted Warning," April 21, 2000

Taylor, J., "Pesticide bans put children at risk from roaches,
rodents," Environment & Climate News, July 1, 2002