EPA’s Approach for Integrated Pest Management in Schools
EPA's mandate for integrated pest management (IPM) in schools comes from basic federal law: "support the adoption of IPM," which is stated in the U.S. Code at Title 5, Section 136r-1. The EPA mission to protect human health and the environment also contributes to this mandate. The Agency's School IPM Strategic Plan describes the approach and overall activities to be undertaken to achieve the following mission, goals, and objectives.
EPA's vision is that all of the nation's students attend schools with verifiable and ongoing IPM programs. Our mission is to build partnerships and collaborations to promote and support school IPM, demonstrate its value, and provide information on the tools available to schools interested in establishing new or improving existing IPM programs.
- Increase demand for school IPM
- Supply what schools need to succeed
- Reward success
- Grow and effectively leverage the stakeholder network
- Align school IPM with other EPA school programs
- Strengthen relationships with federal partners
- Empower schools to build and sustain school IPM programs.
- Provide technical assistance, tools and resources for school IPM implementation.
- Continue stakeholder involvement with the Regional school IPM Working Groups.
- Build strong partnerships with national school organizations to facilitate a wholesale approach to implementing IPM in schools.
- Include our federal partners in the implementation plan.
- Align school IPM programs with other EPA programs, such as the Healthy Schools Program in the Office of Children's Health Protection.
EPA has achieved a great deal through our pesticide regulatory system to protect children. However, we realize that we cannot rely on pesticide regulatory protections alone for realizing the aspirations of pollution prevention. Regulation by itself is not enough and IPM provides an additional means of protection for the health of our children.
Regulations addressing pest management in, around and adjacent to schools vary greatly from state to state. Requirements in some states include:
- Posting and notification of pesticide applications.
- Specified re-entry periods before staff or students are permitted in treated areas.
- Qualifications for applicators or pesticides in schools.
- Pesticide product selection.
- Adoption of IPM policies or plans.
- Buffers between neighboring pesticide uses and schools.
School districts' policies also vary widely, with the majority of districts having no formal policies that specifically address pest management practices and no designated IPM coordinator directing program implementation.