June 10, 2009—Legislature Approves Integrated Pest Management for Oregon Schools
SALEM, Ore.—June 10, 2009—The Oregon House of Representatives today approved SB 637, a great step forward in protecting children from exposure to pesticides in Oregon’s schools. Already passed in the Oregon Senate, the House vote of 41-14 now sends the bill to the Senate for a concurrence vote, then to Governor Ted Kulongoski for signing into law. The law will require public and private Oregon K-12 schools and community colleges to adopt integrated pest management plans.
Integrated pest management is an effective and environmentally sensitive way to control pests and weeds, resulting in effective suppression of pest populations while minimizing human health and environmental hazards. It is a safer and often less costly option for pest management, using common sense strategies to reduce sources of food, water and shelter for pests in buildings and grounds.
Pesticides commonly used in Oregon schools have been associated with a number of health problems including cancer, reproductive problems, and nervous system damage. 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.
In addition to integrated pest management plans for schools, the bill authorizes governing bodies to adopt, improve or continue any integrated pest management plan that provides protection against pesticide exposure equal to or greater than protections required by the bill. The bill also makes public pesticide applicator license requirements applicable to pesticide applications at school campuses.
"We applaud both chambers for recognizing the importance of this issue and supporting common-sense strategies to protect the health of the school children in our state," said Renee Hackenmiller-Paradis MPH, PhD, program director at the Oregon Environmental Council. "Senator Bonamici's leadership has been instrumental on this issue and we thank her for championing this cause."
"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 integrated pest management have documented improved pest management, cost savings, and reductions in pesticide applications by as much as 90 per cent," said Senator Suzanne Bonamici - D-NE Washington/NW Multnomah Counties. "Senate Bill 637 improves student health and achievement with cost-effective pest management policies for schools."
The Oregon Environmental Council championed this bill and was joined by a diverse group of organizations to support Integrated Pest Management in Schools through SB 637: 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, SEIU-Local 503, and others.
About the Oregon Environmental Council
The Oregon Environmental Council safeguards what Oregonians love about Oregon – clean air and water, an unpolluted landscape and healthy food produced by local farmers. For 40 years we’ve been a champion for solutions to protect the health of every Oregonian and the health of the place we call home. Our vision for Oregon includes solving global warming, protecting kids from toxics, cleaning up our rivers, building sustainable economies, and ensuring healthy food and local farms. Find out more at www.oeconline.org.