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Schools and Child Care


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. However, many childcare providers or teachers may not be aware of the serious health risks associated with improper storage or use of pesticides in schools or childcare settings. Young children can have greater exposure to pesticides from crawling and exploring areas or objects that may be contaminated with a pesticide, and then putting their hands in their mouths.

EPA recommends that schools and childcare programs use integrated pest management (IPM) to reduce children's exposure to pesticides. IPM differs from traditional pest control approaches in several ways. It emphasizes eliminating nesting places as well as sources of food and water for pests. It also is usually a less costly option for effective pest management in 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 can spend much of their day at school or in a childcare program, teachers, custodial staff, childcare providers, and parents all have an opportunity to create a safer environment for children by reducing their exposure to potentially harmful pests and to the pesticides often used to control them. This Web site contains information that schools and childcare programs can use to implement an IPM program.

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