In 2005, more than two thirds of the states had enacted some legislation containing policies regarding integrated pest management. These policies might require implementation of IPM programs, pesticide bans, and "right-to-know" procedures. Additionally, more than 400 school districts across the country are known to have policies at the district level. These policies are designed to protect children and to create safe learning environments that are free of pesticides and free of pests.
To learn more about the status of legislation in your state, visit the Beyond Pesticides page of state and local school pesticide policies. Click on the state you are interested in learning more about.
Right-to-know regulations vary from state-to-state and from one school district to another within the same state. The basic premise is to implement an IPM plan for the school and to inform parents, students, and staff prior to application of pesticides. This allows concerned parents and staff an opportunity to take necessary precautions. In some situations, schools might notify parents, students, and staff following the application. Posted signs generally need to be visible for at least 72 hours.
Not all states have restricted spray zones around schools. Nor do they all require written notification for pesticide use. Regulations prohibiting when and where pesticides can be applied also vary. Only a few states require that schools adopt an integrated pest management plan. Standards have been developing; however, at this time, there are no consistent national standards for IPM.
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (enacted 1947) has been amended several times. All schools that use pesticides are subject to provisions under this act. FIFRA governs licensing of pesticides and gives U.S. EPA the ability to approve all pesticides before they become available for sale. Each designated use for a pesticide must receive EPA approval, and all pesticides must receive and display an EPA registration number. These rules make it possible for EPA to make sure the pesticide will not cause "unreasonable human health or environmental effects."
Additional federal acts exist to control pesticides, but these are more applicable to landscaping and agriculture as well as to the production of pesticides. U.S. EPA has more information about these laws and regulations.
In 2012, the School Environment Protection Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives but was not enacted. Beyond Pesticides has more information about the proposed legislation.