Pest- and pesticide-related risks to children will be reduced in all U.S. public schools by 2015 as envisioned in a new plan released by the Environmental Protection Agency and others.
The plan, “School IPM 2015: a Strategic Plan for Integrated Pest Management in Schools in the United States,” calls for a 70-percent reduction in both pest complaints and pesticide use in schools. It relies on the coordinated efforts of teachers, custodians, food service staff, school administrators, pest management professionals, Agricultural Extension staff, regulators, architects, and parents to reduce pesticide risk in schools.
Developed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and Regional Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Centers, and the Integrated Pest Management Institute of North America, the plan provides a roadmap to understanding pest biology, inspection and monitoring, and pest prevention that are key to successfully implementing IPM.
Pests and pest management can have long-term health effects and affect school attendance. Schools that adopt IPM should have less pesticide residue, fewer pest problems, and lower pest-related allergens. Studies show that IPM reduces pest complaints and pesticide use in schools by 70 percent to 90 percent, with no long-term increase in costs.