Pesticides & Integrated Pest Management

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1 Pesticides & Integrated Pest Management What are some common pests in child care and preschools? i Cockroaches: may be able to spread disease; allergic reactions from droppings Yellow jacket bees: can be very dangerous, especially to those that have allergies to stings Mice: often create allergic reactions and may contaminate food if not stored properly Flies: are also able to spread disease What are Pesticides? Pesticides are poisonous chemicals by design, many of which can spread through the air and seep into soil and water. They are powerful chemicals that kill undesirable species, including rodents, insects and weeds. Pesticides are used indoors and outside, and even on people (to kill head lice, for example). When pesticides are applied as a spray or aerosol, fumes often linger in the air. Such fumes are liable to drift into schools through ambient or ventilation systems. What are the possible health effects of some Pesticides? The health effects of pesticides are dependent upon the chemical class and formulation of each pesticide, and the level and length of exposure. There are many health effects of pesticides, such as: Nerve tissue damage; Kidney/liver damage; and Reproductive effects Endocrine disrupting through mimicking or interfering with human hormones Pesticides in Food and Water Pesticide residues are commonly found in food. Water also frequently contains pesticides from agricultural, industrial, and residential runoff. ii If ingested faster than the body can normally excrete, the chemicals in pesticides can build up in the body and can have serious long-term health effects on a child as he/she grows. It also depends on the level of exposure and the individual. Pesticides in Child Care, Preschools and Home Environment Children spend a large majority of their day within child care and preschool settings, making it important that these environments are safe and non-toxic. Low levels of some pesticide exposure are even a threat to the sensitive, growing child. Studies by the US Environmental Protection Agency s (EPA s) National Exposure Research Laboratory have found concentrations of pesticides such as pyrethroids in more than half of indoor dust samples tested from child care facilities and homes. Other published studies revealed that various pesticides, many of which are endocrine disruptors, take a very long time to break down, and persist indoors for weeks on furniture, toys and other surfaces and for up to years in indoor air and dust. EPA s Non-Occupational Pesticide Exposure Study (NOPES) found that levels of pesticides in indoor air are often ten times higher than those measured in outdoor air. While another study discovered higher indoor air concentrations of pesticides in the infant breathing zone. iii Children s Environmental Health Network May

2 How are children exposed? Children s behavior, including increased hand to mouth activity, a tendency to crawl on floors, and play in spaces that could be contaminated, put children at a higher risk. Children also lack the ability to know the difference between what is safe and what is not. Pesticides are a major concern in outdoor play areas as touching pesticides can lead to ingestion. Children are also exposed to pesticides through food and water. Recommendations: Food o Wash fruits and vegetables under running water. Peel or trim when possible. iv o Serving organic foods can decrease the amount of pesticides ingested. v Pest Management o A kitchen clear of food and a dry bathroom discourage pests. Put food and trash away in closed containers. o For outdoor areas, maintain healthy soil to deter weeds and eliminate habitats favorable for undesirable species, such as removing standing water to control mosquitoes. o Integrated Pest Management (IPM): An Alternative to Pesticides - a method used to reduce the use of pesticides through effective management of pests. The Eight Program Essentials for Productive and Effective IPM vi 1. Education/Training: Provide information to employees and other stakeholders. 2. Monitoring: Conduct regular inspections and trapping to determine the types and infestation levels of species. 3. Prevention: Primary actions include preventative cultural practices, structural changes, and mechanical and biological methods. These actions include removing food sources for insects and other unwanted species, proper sanitation, and creating physical barriers by sealing cracks, installing window screens, etc. 4. Action Levels: Determine the population level of unwanted species that warrant action due to human health or economic reasons. 5. Least-Hazardous Pesticides: Only as a last resort, use least-toxic pesticides that are not linked to any short or long-term health effects. 6. Notification: Inform families and employees if any hazardous chemicals will be used. 7. Recordkeeping: Keep track of pest trends and pest management methods. 8. Evaluation: Review your records to determine what methods have been successful. Designing Integrated Pest Management Techniques There are many training manuals and models that schools and child care facilities can use to design their IPM programs. Children s Environmental Health Network May

3 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9 Manual vii o How to use IPM against pests such as: cockroaches, fleas, lice, flies, yellow jackets, spiders, scorpions and ants. o Provides information based on type of application environment including lawns. EPA: IPM for Schools: A How-to Manual If you have to use pesticides: o Choose a brand that is environmentally friendly. Often, if the pesticide is safe for the environment, it may not pose a serious health hazard. (examples: pyrethrins, borax, citrus oils, cedar woods chips or oil, fragrant herbs) o Read pesticide labels and follow instructions. i o Do not apply pesticides when children are around. i o Never place baits/traps in areas accessed by children. i o Properly store the pesticides: i Store pesticides out of children s reach. Placing child-resistant latches on lids and cabinet doors reduces the risk of children gaining access. Do not put pesticides in containers associated with edible products. Keep all pesticides in their original containers, with the original cap for the container securely in place. Keep the emergency phone number of the National Capital Poison Center near your telephone (24 hours, 7 days a week). viii Resources Integrated Pest Management (IPM): Safer Pest Control Project (Illinois) - Phone: PEST (7378) Fax: Provides information about training sessions along with other information The IPM Institute of North America, Inc. - Phone: Fax The Pennsylvania IPM Program - IPM Pyramid of Tactics for kids: IPM at Schools - University of Florida - Beyond Pesticides - Phone: /1-888-NOPOISON ( ) Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA) Phone: Fax: Children s Environmental Health Network May

4 National Pesticide Information Center- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Hotline: Health Environments for Child Care and Preschools Settings 2009 Texans for Alternatives to Pesticides Richmond, Suite 270, Houston, TX Phone: (2TAP) Texas Department of Agriculture - Pesticide Programs (512) d=5319 Dallas Citizens for Alternatives to Pesticides P.O. Box Dallas, TX Website: Citizens' Environmental Coalition - P. O. Box 27579, Houston, Texas Phone: (713) 524-4CEC (4232) Concerned Citizens for Safer Mosquito Control Dallas, Texas Phone: (214) i Environmental Protection Agency. Protecting Children. Available at Accessed on 24 August ii United States Geological Survey Pesticides in the Nation s Streams and Ground Water, USGS Circular Available at Accessed on 17 October iii Beyond Pesticides/National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides. Studies Show Pesticides Contaminate Homes and Daycares. School Pesticide Monitor. 9(2):2009. iv Environmental Protection Agency. Healthy, Sensible Food Practices. Available at Accessed on 25 July v Lu, C., K. Toepel, R. Irish, et al Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children's Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides. Environmental Health Perspectives 114(2). Available at Accessed on 17 October 2007; Curl, C.L., R.A. Fenske, K. Elgethun Organophosphorus Pesticide Exposure of Urban and Suburban Preschool Children with Organic and Conventional Diets. Environmental Health Perspectives 111(3). Available at Accessed on 17 October vi Beyond Pesticides. Ending Toxic Dependency: The State of IPM. Pesticides and You 27(2): 10. Children s Environmental Health Network May

5 vii Environmental Protection Agency, Integrated Pest Management for Schools: A How-to Manual. Available at Accessed on 1 March viii Environmental Protection Agency. Protecting Children. Available at Accessed on 14 November Children s Environmental Health Network May

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