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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Children and pesticides: California

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Integrated Pest Management in Schools (IPM)

California requires that schools post notices of indoor and outdoor pesticide applications in schools 24 hours in advance. These posting must remain up for 72 hours. Schools must establish a parent and staff registry that provides 72 hour advance written notice of all pesticide applications on school property

The Healthy Schools Act of 2000 put into code an existing voluntary school IPM program developed by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) during the 1990s. The Healthy Schools Act includes some additional requirements for schools, such as parental notification of pesticide applications, warning signs, recordkeeping at schools and pesticide use reporting by licensed pest control businesses that apply pesticides at schools.

California's School IPM Program Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
This site was created by California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) as part of it's implementation of the Healthy Schools Act of 2000. Information about IPM in schools, the Healthy Schools Act, facility design and maintenance practices, and the California School IPM Guidebook are available here. Users can subscribe to the School IPM Electronic Notification list, and there is also an extensive list of additional resources.

School IPM HELPR Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
DPR and the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Project (UCIPM) have teamed up to create the School IPM Health and Environmental Impacts Lookup Resource (School IPM HELPR). School IPM HELPR allows users to look up UCIPM's Pest Notes recommendations for managing a particular pest, then proceed to a page that summarizes environmental and health information for each management tactic mentioned. Users can view information on toxicology, exposure, available products, and regulatory status in a convenient tabular format.

Marin County Model School IPM Project Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
In 1999, Marin County schools were selected to participate in the Model School IPM Project, which is intended to help schools make the transition to IPM as mandated by the Healthy Schools Act. This site contains descriptions of the key components of a school IPM program, information about the Healthy School Act, and additional resources for parents, teachers and school staff.

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) IPM Policy (PDF) (41 pp, 369K, About PDF)
LAUSD has adopted an IPM policy that incorporates the “precautionary principle” with the long term objective of requiring pesticide producers to prove that their products do not pose a health risk rather than requiring the government or the public to prove that a given pesticide is harming human health. While full implementation of this policy is currently not possible, LAUSD places priority on using the least toxic pest measures available. Parents can also receive notification of every pesticide application 72 hours in advance by submitting a “right to know” form to the school.

Local IPM programs in California Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
A listing of local IPM programs throughout California, as well as descriptions of state laws related to pesticides and schools.

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Illness reporting

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
DPR is responsible for all programs related to pesticide use, safety and health regulations. California's pesticide use reporting (PUR) system is the most extensive in the nation, and it has been collecting information since 1990. Pesticide users must provide detailed information about every pesticide application to DPR, where is it entered into a statewide pesticide use database. Each year, DPR publishes a summary of pesticide use for the state that is available to the public.

Pesticides research and interventions

In the past, many of the studies examining health effects associated with pesticides have focused on occupational exposures in agricultural workers. Until recently, there were few studies that addressed the extent of children's exposure to pesticides, and none that investigated health effects associated with chronic, low-level pesticide exposures. Within region 9, there are several key epidemiological studies underway investigating how children are exposed to pesticides and how these exposures can effect their growth, development, and overall health.

Center for the Health Assessment of Mother and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS)  Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
The aim of CHAMACOS is to better understand pesticide exposures in pregnant women and children, their associated health effects, and determine effective ways to reduce them. The study population is predominately Mexican and Mexican-American and spans three important areas: exposure assessment, health effects, and interventions. The exposure assessment study characterizes pesticide metabolite levels in pregnant women and children, evaluates home environments, describes exposure-prone behaviors of young children, and aims to develop a multi-media, multi-pathway pesticide exposure assessment model for children. There are approximately 600 women in the health effects study; all of their children have been born and their development (primarily neurodevelopment, growth, and respiratory health) will be closely monitored until age 2. The intervention study will evaluate the efficacy of two intervention strategies, one technical and one educational.

Pesticide Exposure and Potential Health Effects in Young Children Across the U.S.-Mexico Border
Initiated in 1996, this study uses a three phase approach to examine the cumulative risks and possible health effects from persistent exposure to pesticides in children living along the U.S.-Mexico border. Phase I involved development of inventories of pesticide usage and crop data in the U.S. states along the border. This data was then used to create a geographic information system (GIS) database that would provide maps of crops, pesticide usage, and population distributions. Phase II focused on determining  the extent and distribution of pesticide exposures in children living in the border region. Phase III will involve a more complete follow up and monitoring of children identified as “high end exposed” in phase II. Ultimately, biological and environmental measurements for these children would be used in epidemiological studies to better understand the health effects associated with pesticide exposure.

A number of exposure studies have been conducted within Phase II of the broader U.S-Mexico Border study.

  • Pesticide Exposure in Children in Yuma, AZ. This study uses GIS techniques to examine the hypothesis that pesticide levels in young children vary according to the distance they live from agricultural fields. Dust samples were collected from homes and schools, and urine from children was collected and screened for pesticide metabolites.
  • Evaluating Symptomatic Children for Organophosphate Pesticide Exposure in Imperial County, CA. The purpose of this study was to measure biomarkers of exposure in symptomatic children aged two to four years to estimate the prevalence of unrecognized pesticide-related illness in pediatric clinics.
  • Imperial Valley, CA Study of Immune Response in Infants. Children undergoing routine immunization were monitored for potential pesticide exposure, and were followed to assess their immune response to the vaccine.
  • National Human Exposure Assessment Survey (HNEXAS AZ): Border Extension Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
    This study assesses the exposure of populations along the U.S.-Mexico border for a number of environmental contaminants, including pesticides. This study is not limited to children, and exposure levels at the border are compared to exposures throughout the rest of Arizona.

Northern California Childhood Cancer Study (NCCLS) Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
NCCLS is an epidemiological study underway in California to investigate the relationship between childhood cancers and a number of environmental factors, including pesticide exposure. A case control study was conducted to determine whether exposure to household pesticides was associated with an increased risk to childhood leukemia. This study is ongoing.

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