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Environment Protection Act (SEPA)
School Environment Protection Act (SEPA) provides basic levels
of protection for children and school staff from the use of
pesticides in public school buildings and on school grounds.
need better protection from toxic chemical exposure while
at school. According to the National Academy of Sciences report,
Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children, children
are among the least protected population group when it comes
to pesticide exposure. The report finds that EPA generally
lacks data on children necessary to protect them. Due to their
small size, greater intake of air and food relative to body
weight, developing organ systems and other unique characteristics,
children are at higher risk than adults to pesticide exposure.
Thirty-one states have taken some action to step in and provide
protective action to address pesticide use in, around or near
their schools. These include a mixture of pesticide restrictions
and parental notification and posting of signs before certain
pesticides are used. However, the state protection is uneven
across the country and children in nineteen states are provided
no protection at all.
practices: The legislation requires local educational
agencies and schools to implement a school pest management
plan (SPMP) that incorporates pest management practices that
consider all pest control methods that minimize health and
environmental risks in school buildings and on school grounds.
The SPMP must employ integrated methods, site and pest inspection,
pest population monitoring and an evaluation of the need for
pest management. The SPMP relies on a combination of methods
that address sanitation, structural repair, mechanical, biological,
cultural and pesticide strategies that minimize health and
environmental risks. Each local educational agency is required
to use a certified applicator or a person authorized by the
State to implement the SPMP.
use: A school may use a conventional pesticide, as long
as the area of application is unoccupied during the treatment.
For applications of pesticides via baseboard spraying, broadcast
spraying, tenting or fogging, the treatment area must remain
unoccupied for the following 24 hours, unless the pesticide
product label states a specific reentry interval. Specific
notification requirements must be provided if a pesticide,
other than those exempted from notification, is applied at
notification: Notification regarding the schools pest
management and pesticide use is required to be provided to
all parents and school staff three times per year (at the
beginning of the school year, midyear, and at the beginning
of the summer session). The universal notice will contain
a summary of the SPMP, a precautionary risk statement, information
on how to sign up to be notified before a pesticide application,
notice of pesticides that are exempt from notification requirements,
and information on who to contact for information on all pesticides
used at the school.
registry: Parents and school staff can request to be notified
at least 24 hours in advance of pesticide applications and
receive information about the applications by registering
with the school. Notification includes the common and trade
name, a description of the potential adverse effects based
on the chemical's material safety data sheet and label of
the pesticide, a precautionary risk statement, the location
and reasons for the application of the pesticide. A complete
list of pesticides that may be used as part of a regular vocational
agricultural curriculum at a school must be provided at the
beginning of each term to persons on the registry.
of Notification Signs: In addition, the legislation requires
that signs be posted 24 hours in advance of the pesticide
application and remain in place for 24 hours after the pesticide
application. In the case of notification and posting for outdoor
pesticide use, three application dates in chronological order
must be provided and the application may take place on subsequent
dates if the preceding date is cancelled due to weather. Signs
are required to be posted at a central location noticeable
to individuals entering the building and at the proposed site
exempt from notification: Certain pesticides that may
be used by a school are exempt from posting and registry notification
requirements, including 1) antimicrobials, 2) baits, gels,
and pastes (that are applied in areas out of reach of children,
not readily accessible to children, or are in a tamper resistant
container), and 3) pesticides exempt under the Code of Federal
Regulations title 40 section 152. A statement that these pesticides
may be used without additional notification is required to
be provided as part of the universal notification. Individuals
can contact the school for information concerning these exempt
pesticides. Pesticides applied on school grounds at the direction
of a State or local agency other than a local educational
agency are exempt from this and other provisions of the act.
about pesticide risk: The following statement is required
to be provided in all notifications: "As part of the
school pest management plan, (school name) may make applications
of pesticide products. All products used are registered for
this use by the EPA and by (state agency). EPA continues to
examine pesticides to determine that use of pesticides in
accordance with instructions printed on the label does not
pose unreasonable risks to human health and the environment.
Nevertheless, EPA cannot guarantee that pesticides do not
pose risks, and unnecessary exposure should be avoided."
Requirements: Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide
and Rodenticide Act, EPA funds states' pesticide programs
through cooperative agreements. SEPA requires the state lead
pesticide agency to incorporate the states SPMP into the states
cooperative agreement for EPA approval. And once approved,
make it available to each local educational agency within
the state. The state lead pesticide agency is also required
to develop descriptions of the potentially acute and chronic
effects that may result from exposure to each pesticide, as
stated on the pesticide product's label, material safety data
sheet, or any final, official EPA information related to the
pesticide use: Each local educational agency is required
to designate a contact person. The contact person maintains
information about pesticide applications, acts as a contact
for inquires, makes pesticide material safety data sheets,
labels, EPA fact sheets, and any final official EPA information
related to the pesticide available to the public.
retention:Each school is required to maintain all pesticide
use data, other than for antimicrobials, for at least three
years. The information is available upon request to any person.
use provision: The legislation allows for the emergency
use of pesticides when the immediate health and safety of
children are being threatened. In this case, pre-notification
requirements of the legislation are waived and schools are
to provide notice of the application to the individuals listed
on the registry within 24 hours of pesticide use and post
notification signs immediately following the application.
The notice must include information required under regular
notice as well as a description of the reasons requiring the
application to be an emergency.
does not preempt states or localities: A state or locality
can exceed the provisions of this act. States or localities
that already have policies that meet or exceed this act can
continue with their implementation.