Jump to main content.


Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Schools

Resources

Protecting Children in Schools from Pests and Pesticides

a grade school student reading from a book to other classmates in their classroom

Pesticides are powerful tools for controlling pests. However, pesticides need to be used carefully and judiciously, especially when used in sensitive areas where children are present. Children are more sensitive than adults to pesticides. Young children can have greater exposure to pesticides from crawling, exploring, or other hand-to-mouth activities.

The EPA recommends that schools use integrated pest management (IPM) to reduce pesticide risk and exposure to children. Put simply, IPM is a safer, and usually less costly option for effective pest management in a school community. A school IPM program uses common sense strategies to reduce sources of food, water and shelter for pests in your school buildings and grounds. An IPM program takes advantage of all pest management strategies, including the judicious and careful use of pesticides when necessary.

Since children spend so much of their day at school, integrated pest management provides an opportunity to create a safer learning environment - - to reduce children's exposure to pesticides as well as eliminate pests. EPA is encouraging school officials to adopt IPM practices to reduce children's exposure to pesticides.

On this page:

Is There a Safer Way to Control Pests?

School administrators and others who have decision-making responsibilities for pest management in and around school buildings and grounds should know that safer options exist.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a safer, and usually less costly option for effective pest management in the school community. A school IPM program employs common sense strategies to reduce sources of food, water and shelter for pests in your school buildings and grounds. IPM programs take advantage of all pest management strategies, including judicious careful use of pesticides when necessary.

Top of page

How Do You Know if Your School is Really Using IPM?

You can make sure that:

Top of page

How You Can Get Started

There are several resources available that provide excellent reference information where you can learn more about Integrated Pest Management, and get the tools to start an IPM program at your school.

Top of page

What Organizations are Saying about IPM

EPA is helping schools understand and implement IPM by distributing printed publications and supporting projects that demonstrate variable and sustainable school IPM programs. Here are some examples of successful IPM demonstrations:

"Monroe County Indiana achieved a 92 percent reduction in pesticide use, enabling them to also direct their cost savings to hire a district-wide coordinator to oversee pest management in the schools. As a result of this achievement, Monroe County was awarded the Governor's Award for Pollution Prevention. The Monroe County IPM Program has now evolved into the Monroe School IPM Model. By using this Model, the emphasis is placed on minimizing the use of broad spectrum chemicals, and on maximizing the use of sanitation, biological controls and selective methods of application." -- Monroe County Community Schools Corporation, Indiana

"In the Vista de las Cruces School in California, pest management costs went from $1,740 a year to $270 (plus labor) for two years." -- Santa Barbara, California

"The Kyrene School District reduced pesticide applications by 90 percent and kept pest populations below 85 percent of their original levels by using IPM. Due to the overwhelming success, their IPM program was expanded to all the Kyrene district schools in spring 2001 (27 schools)." -- Kyrene School District Facilities Manager, Arizona

"In managing pests, the emphasis should be placed on minimizing the use of broad spectrum chemicals, and on maximizing the use of sanitation, biological controls and selective methods of application." -- American Public Health Association

"A healthy school environment is essential. All students and staff have a right to learn and work in a healthy school environment, safe from air pollution, radiation, sound and mechanical stress, and chemical exposures." -- National Association of School Nurses

"National PTA supports efforts [IPM implementation] at the federal, state, and local levels to eliminate the environmental health hazards caused by pesticide use in and around schools." -- National Parent Teacher Association

Top of page

Common Pests in School Settings

Some pests common in schools can harm both children and adults.

Top of page

School IPM Programs Where You Live and Related Information

Map of the US, split into EPA regions Region 1: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont Region 2: New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands Region 3: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia Region 4: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee Region 5: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin Region 6: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas Region 7: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska Region 8: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakaota, Utah, Wyoming Region 9: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands Region 10: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington

Top of page

Publications | Glossary | A-Z Index | Jobs


Local Navigation


Jump to main content.