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Integrated Pest Management Bill for Oregon's Schools Approved by Senate

Passage of SB 637 requires healthier, cost-effective pesticide management techniques for all schools in Oregon - reducing children's and educators' unnecessary exposure to potentially harmful pesticides

May 13, 2009

The Oregon Senate today approved a sweeping new bill that 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.

"We salute the Senate and Senator Bonamici's leadership for recognizing the importance of this issue and taking the appropriate steps," said Renee Hackenmiller-Paradis MPH, PhD, program director at the Oregon Environmental Council. "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."

Integrated Pest Management is 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. Put simply, IPM is a safer and often less costly option for effective pest management. IPM uses common sense strategies to reduce sources of food, water and shelter for pests in buildings and grounds.

"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," said Senator Suzanne Bonamici. "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


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