Senate approves pest management bill for Oregon schools

SALEM— May 13, 2009 —The Oregon Senate today approved a new bill that supporters say will create healthier school environments by requiring that public and private Oregon K-12 schools and community colleges adopt Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policies.

The bill now goes to the Oregon House of Representatives for committee review.

The bill requires adoption of Integrated Pest Management plans for schools, as well as specifies certain requirements for integrated pest management plans. The bill also makes public pesticide applicator license requirements applicable to pesticide applications at school campuses.

"Pesticides commonly used in Oregon schools have been associated with a number of health problems including cancer, reproductive problems and nervous system damage," said Renee Hackenmiller-Paradis MPH, PhD, program director at the Oregon Environmental Council. "Children can be exposed to pesticides in school settings by playing on floors, lawns and play areas, eating pesticide-treated foods or by handling treated pets. This bill goes a long way toward addressing easily preventable sources of these potential exposures."

Integrated Pest Management is considered by supporters of the bill to be an effective and environmentally sensitive way to control pests and weeds that results in effective suppression of pest populations while minimizing human health and environmental hazards.

"The use of Integrated Pest Management can help reduce pesticide exposures and also provide additional benefits by reducing pests and their associated allergens, possibly reducing asthma triggers. Many schools practicing IPM have documented improved pest management, cost savings, and reductions in pesticide applications by as much as 90 per cent," Senator Suzanne Bonamici said.

The Oregon Environmental Council championed the bill and was joined by a group of varied organizations: AFT-Oregon, American Lung Association in Oregon, Children First for Oregon, Community Health Partnership, Healthy Kids Learn Better Coalition, Oregon Center for Environmental Health, Nurse Practitioners of Oregon, Oregon Education Association, Oregon Nurses Association, Oregon Public Health Association, Oregon School Employees Association, Oregon Toxics Alliance, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Oregon Chapter, Project: Children and SEIU-Local 503 are a portion of the supportive group list.

About the Oregon Environmental Council

The Oregon Environmental Council seeks to safeguard clean air and water and an unpolluted landscape and healthy food produced by local farmers.

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