|Children are vulnerable to chemical exposures, experts say.|
This funding will help reduce student’s exposure to pests and pesticides in the nation’s schools, while saving money, energy and pesticide treatment costs.
“Children are among the most vulnerable members of our society, and it’s EPA’s job to protect them from harmful chemicals,” said James Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.
“We aim to help schools implement sustainable pest management practices to create a healthier environment for our children and teachers.”
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) reduces pesticide use, helps to eliminate pests and saves schools money.
For example, 18 schools in Monroe County, Indiana have reduced both pesticide use and pest control costs by 90 percent using IPM practices.
This approach has the potential to reach all 15,000 school districts and improve the health and well-being of the 49 million children attending public and tribal schools in the United States.
IPM measures help prevent pests from becoming a threat by taking action to address the underlying causes that enable pests to thrive in schools.
These actions, such as repairing water leaks, adding weather stripping to windows, and installing door sweeps, reduce pesticide use and treatment costs while reducing water and energy costs.
The IPM common-sense approach is a stark contrast to conventional pest management in which an exterminator uses pesticides school-wide on a regular schedule, potentially exposing school children, teachers and staff to pesticides, with little emphasis on removing the underlying conditions that make it inviting to pests.
The three grants will be awarded to:
- TheTexas A&M Agrilife Extension to develop a central, internet-based hub for materials and phone apps that will give school districts the information and tools they need to adopt an IPM program. While the project aims to reach 1 percent of schools (552,350 students) within three years, it has the potential to reach all of the 15,000 school districts nation-wide and the 49 million children attending US public schools.
- The University of Arizona to develop and carry out a pilot training and certification program for school staff (custodians, kitchen staff, and school administrators) in eight states and four tribes, working with five other universities and stakeholders. Once finalized, the materials will be made available to schools nation-wide through partners.
- The Michigan State University to help 5 percent of Michigan and Indiana schools adopt IPM through hands-on education, training and coalition-building, including web-based trainings and a website. About 135,000 children may be protected.
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