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Californians for Pesticide Reform

For More Information Contact CALPIRG 415-206-9338 x303 or 916-448-4516

Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR) 415-981-3939 x6


NEWS RELEASE

Public Schools to Notify Parents about Pesticide Use

Coalition Releases New "Healthy Schools Pesticide Action Kit" [San Francisco, CA] As families gear up for the new school year, parents across the state will receive first ever notification about the use of harmful pesticides in their children's schools, thanks to requirements of a new law, the Healthy Schools Act.

"I'm proud to have led the fight for healthy schools and to see it pay off in greater protection for California's children," said Kevin Shelley (D- San Francisco/San Mateo), who authored the Healthy Schools Act (AB 2260). "Toxics and pesticides don't mix. I know parents will use this information to learn about how to protect their kids from the dangers of pesticides." Assembly Majority Leader Kevin Shelley joined members of the Healthy Schools Campaign Coalition today as they released a new kit to help parents, students and school staff understand the new law and how they can use it to implement least-toxic pest control policies in their districts.

"Parents should be on the lookout for written notice of pesticide use in their "back to school" forms," said Nancy Spradling, Executive Director of the California School Nurses Organization (CSNO). "Notification is a key component of this new law which was supported by CSNO to give parents, teachers, staff and students access to critical information about pesticide use in schools."

The Healthy Schools Campaign, including the PTA, CSNO, Physicians for Social Responsibility, CALPIRG, and other health and children's advocates today released a new kit to help parents, students and school staff understand the new law and how they can use its provisions to implement least-toxic pest control policies in their districts. The publication, "Healthy Schools Pesticide Action Kit" (PAK) is available free of charge by calling 888-CPR-4880 or visiting http://www.calhealthyschools.org

"Parents, teachers and school officials will be able to use this kit to understand the law, and how to protect kids from exposure to dangerous pesticides," said Teri Olle, Toxics Program Director of the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG), a co-author of the PAK. "The Healthy Schools Act takes the first step of giving us information about pesticide use, but now concerned parents, teachers and school districts should turn this information into action to make sure kids are protected."

Many studies indicate that children are especially susceptible to pesticide poisons. Because their bodies are still developing and because they play on the ground and put objects in their mouths, kids are at risk of greater exposure and harm. Childhood cancers, asthma, and other serious health problems are on the rise in California. Surveys show that many school districts now use pesticides linked to these diseases as well as nerve poisons, reproductive toxins and acutely toxic pesticides.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," said Felix Aguilar, M.D., M.P.H., and Board President of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles. "We should do everything we can to take precautionary measures to protect children from unnecessary exposure to dangerous pesticides. Pesticides may trigger asthma attacks and have been linked to certain types of childhood cancer and learning disabilities. School districts should work toward eliminating pesticides from the school site to protect kids."

In California, surveys of public schools indicate that toxic pesticide use is widespread-and that parental notification is almost nonexistent. In response, lawmakers passed the Healthy Schools Act, which provides parents the right to know about pesticide use in their children's schools while promoting least-toxic IPM as the preferred policy of the state. Least-toxic IPM employs common sense preventative approaches, prioritizes children's health, and often saves schools money in the long run. A growing number of school districts around the country have found that effective pest control is possible without toxic pesticides. Some California school districts that have taken the lead in protecting children's health by adopting strong IPM policies include Oakland Unified, Arcata, Kentfield, Placer Hills Union, San Francisco Unified, Ventura Unified, and Los Angeles Unified. ### To order a copy of the Healthy Schools Pesticide Action Kit, call 888-CPR-4880 (outside California, 415-981-3939) or visit the Healthy Schools Website: http://www.calhealthyschools.org. --

Californians for Pesticide Reform 49 Powell Street, Suite 530 San Francisco, CA 94102 Phone 415-981-3939 ext. 6 Fax 415-981-2727 pests@igc.org www.igc.org/cpr

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