According to The US Center for Disease Control & Prevention, pesticides in schools have become a national concern. According to a recent report, school age children between the ages of six and eleven have the highest levels of pesticides in their bodies when compared to any other age category. Some specific pesticides have been found at levels 200% higher in children than adults.

The surprising fact is that exposure to these pesticides is occuring at school where children are mandated to be in attendance six hours per day, five days per week.

Consequences of Exposure to Pesticides

Pesticide exposure is known to cause acute symptoms, such as nausea, headache, dizziness, asthma attacks, and respiratory irritation, which are often diagnosed as flu symptoms.

Pesticides have also been linked to chronic effects such as developmental and reproductive problems, learning disabilities like ADHD and autism, nervous system disorders, immune deficiency, and cancer.

Children’s exposure to pesticides has contributed to a rise in a variety of chronic illnesses and fatal diseases. In the last twenty years, asthma among children has more than doubled and is now the leading cause of missed school days in California. From 1977 to 1994, learning disabilities among children rose 191%, with brain cancer in children up 40% from 1973 to 1994.

Need for Legislation of Pesticides

The following information, with a focus upon pesticides in schools, is from a press release prepared by the Office of California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D Concord).

To help protect children from exposure to pesticides in schools, Senator Mark DeSaulnier joined with Pesticide Watch and Californians for Pesticide Reform in pursuing Senate Bill 394, The Healthy Schools Act of 2011, to require that at least one staff person from each school be trained (to monitor the use of pesticides in schools). Thereby insuring their appropriate use.

“The risk for our children is just too great,” said DeSaulnier. “Schools are a place of learning and growth that must be free of dangerous toxins. This bill recognizes that there is nothing more important to California families than the health of our children.”

“This legislation ensures that California schoolchildren and teachers are provided with a safer and greener learning environment,” said Paul Towers, state director of Pesticide Watch. “With the right training and support, healthy schools are within reach.”

“California used to be the state others turned to as a model for ensuring the health of kids in school,” said Sarah Aird, State Field Campaigner/Organizer, Californians for Pesticide Reform. “Although some California schools are reaping the health benefits and financial advantages of green pest control, as a state we've fallen behind the cutting edge. It's time for California to take the lead again. This bill would do that.”

The Benefits of Legislating use of Pesticides in Schools

Legislation will ensure that school children and teachers are provided with a safer and greener learning environment. With the right training and support, healthy schools are within reach.

If you have cleared environmental toxins from you home and are still feeling energetic enough to take on another task, you might begin to make inquiries about pest control at your child's school and what pesticides he may be exposed to in that environment.

A brochure for activists is available here

Leave Pesticides in Schools go to IEP Advocacy

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