NCCI - School Environmental Protection Act

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The National Coalition for the Chemically injured (NCCI) was present for
the introduction to the public of a new federal bill, the School
Environmental Protection Act (SEPA).  If passed, it will assure that toxic
chemicals are used in schools only as a last resort, and with 72 hours of
pre-notification to parents and staff.  Three children told about the
illnesses they had experienced following school pesticide exposure.  The
U.S. Senate sponsors are Senators Robert Torricelli (D) of New Jersey and
Patty Murray (D) of Washington state.  Senator Murray's son was sprayed
with pesticide when a tree overhanging her yard was sprayed.  Dr. Philip
Landrigan, a pediatrician and member of the National Academy of Sciences,
described the many illnesses in children which have been associated
scientifically with pesticides, including nervous system disruption,
leukemia, brain cancer and sarcoma.  A poster was displayed to the press
which showed organizations supporting the bill (see below), including NCCI
and its members the Chemical Sensitivity Disorders Association and the
Ecological Health Organization.  RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound
Environment) said they opposed the bill because "Pesticides are safe..."
and "...the bill would limit schools access to vital pesticides...".  NCCI
encourages the public to express its views on the proposed bill to your
U.S. congresspersons and senators.
---Lawrence A. Plumlee, M.D. (please see my note following the NCAMP Press
Release)
  
>NCAMP PRESS RELEASE
>Beyond Pesticides/National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides
>701 E Street, SE, Washington DC 20003
>202-543-5450 (voice), 202-543-4791 (fax)
>ncamp@beyondpesticides.org
>
>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
>OCTOBER 13, 1999
>
>Contact: Jay Feldman or Kagan Owens
>202-543-5450
>                                                                            
>            School Environment Protection Act (SEPA) Introduced to Protect
>Children 
>From Hazardous Pesticides Used In and Around Schools
>
>Senators Torricelli and Murray unveiled legislation today that would better
>protect children from pesticides used in and around schools. Groups
>supporting the legislation called current federal law inadequate. The new
>bill would institute a national standard to protect children from pesticide
>exposure and promote the adoption of safer approaches to pest management.
>Children's advocacy and environmental groups, physicians, pest control
>companies, parents, students and teachers joined the Senators in calling for
>passage of the legislation. 
>
>Washington, DC, October 13, 1999 - Senator Robert Torricelli of New Jersey
>and Patty Murray of Washington today unveiled the School Environment
>Protection Act  (SEPA) to stop hazardous pesticide use in and around school
>buildings. The authors and supporters, including groups representing
>physicians, parents, teachers, environmentalists and children, say increased
>protected is warranted because lax federal law and heightened sensitivity of
>children to pesticides used in their learning environment.
>
>Children are among the least protected population group when it comes to
>pesticide exposure, according to the National Academy of Sciences report,
>Pesticides In the Diets of Infants and Children (1993). The report found
>that the EPA has failed to adopt standards necessary to protect children.
>Children, due to their small size, greater intake of air and food relative
>to body weight, developing organ systems and other unique characteristics,
>are at higher risk than adults to pesticides. Numerous studies document that
>children exposed to pesticides suffer elevated rates of childhood leukemia,
>soft tissue sarcoma and brain cancer. Studies link pesticides to childhood
>asthma and respiratory problems. Scientists increasingly associate learning
>disabilities or attention deficit disorders with low level toxic exposure
>because of their affect on the central nervous system.
>
>The School Environment Protection Act (SEPA):
> Requires that the safest methods of pest control are used in school
>buildings and on school grounds to protect children. As a first step, it
>requires public schools to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approaches
>to pest control that only use the lowest toxicity pesticides. IPM relies on
>a combination of methods that address sanitation, structural repair,
>mechanical measures, biological controls and other non-chemical methods
>inside buildings and additional approaches for turf and ornamental plant
>management that build healthy soil and natural resistance to pests.
>
> Identifies specific pesticides as acceptable under the definition of least
>toxic pesticides, including boric acid, silica gels, diatomaceous earth,
>nonvolatile insect and rodent baits in tamper resistant containers,
>microbe-based insecticides, botanical insecticides (not including synthetic
>pyrethroids) without toxic synergists, and biological controls. Excludes
>from use in schools pesticides that are determined by the Environmental
>Protection Agency to cause cancer, mutations, birth defects, reproductive
>dysfunction, neurological and immune system effects, endocrine system
>disruption, and those pesticides rated as acutely and moderately toxic. 
>
> Allows a school, after utilizing IPM and least toxic pesticides, to
>determine that a pest cannot be controlled using "acceptable" materials and
>to use conventional pesticides, provided that the school staff and parents
>of children in the school are notified 72 hours prior to use of the
>pesticide. In addition to the notices, signs must be posted in advance of a
>pesticide application and remain in place after the pesticide application. 
>
> Establishes a 12-member National School IPM Advisory Board to oversee (i)
>the implementation of the act, (ii) standards for use of least toxic
>pesticides, (iii) any future proposals to expand the list of least toxic
>pesticides, (iv) new restrictions of pesticides that may endanger children's
>health, and (v) a public review and comment process regarding pesticide uses
>affected by this act. The board includes parents, public health care and
>medical professionals, state IPM coordinators, independent IPM specialists,
>environmental and children's health advocacy groups, teachers and other
>school personnel and a trade organization representing pest control
operators.
>
>Thirty states have taken some level of action to step in and provide
>protective action to address pesticide use in, around or near their schools,
>according to a Beyond Pesticides/National Coalition Against the Misuse of
>Pesticides (NCAMP) report, The Schooling of State Pesticide Laws (1999). Of
>those 30, only 16 states provide some level of protection against pesticides
>used in school buildings. Increasingly, communities across the country are
>adopting policies that take the most hazardous pesticides out of schools.
>However, advocates say protection in this area is generally uneven and
>inadequate across the country and that a minimum national standard is
overdue. 
>
>Examples of incidents involving children and pesticides at schools include: 
>
> Charleston, South Carolina: A pesticide was sprayed into the classroom,
>soaking carpets and desks where students sat the next morning. The school
>did not notify parents until more than a month had passed and did not do a
>thorough cleanup until months after the spill. At least 40 children were
>affected by the pesticide exposure, some with long-term effects. The most
>common health effects experienced were aggravated asthma and coughing,
>peeling hands and feet, headaches and nausea.
>
> Tierra Amarillo, New Mexico: A boy is sick and must stay home and out of
>school because of pesticides used in his school. The boy has suffered from
>asthma attacks, flu like symptoms, headaches, stomachaches, dizziness, and
>loss of appetite since the initial exposure to pesticides while attending
>his school. His parents took him out of school and his health improved.
>Because of financial reasons, his parents are having difficulties in working
>full time and home schooling their son.
>
>According to pest control operators and environmentalists, the tools to
>control school pests without using toxic chemicals are available nationwide
>and have proven to be effective and economical. 
>
>"There is no reason to expose our children to hazardous pesticides,"
>according to Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP.
>"The tools and experience are available to ensure an environmentally safe
>school environment for children, and SEPA will help to put them in place
>nationwide," he said. 
>
>Kagan Owens, Program Director of Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP said, "Children in
>numerous parts of the country are continually being threaten by toxic
>pesticides used in their schools. Not one state law fully provides the
>necessary level of protection needed to decrease the risk of pesticides
>children and staff are exposed to while attending schools. SEPA will provide
>a safe and healthy environment for our children to learn."
>
>##
>
>Beyond Pesticides/National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides
>701 E Street, SE #200
>Washington, DC 20003
>ph 202-543-5450
>Fax 202-543-4791
>http://www.ncamp.org
>ncamp@ncamp.org
>
>Membership in Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP is $25 for individuals and includes a
>subscription to our quarterly newsletter "Pesticides and You" For an
>additional $20/month, you can receive Technical Report, our monthly news
>bulletin!

Larry's postscript:
This is a list of organizations which Senator Toricelli's aide says had
endorsed the bill as of this morning.  I think that we should work to build
alliances with these organizations.  They are our allies.  In addition, MCS
Health and Environment, of IL, has endorsed the bill:

National Supporters
     
     National Education Association
     Natural Resources Defense Council
     National Parent Teacher Association
     American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)  
     Friends of the Earth
     Gray Panthers
     Union of Concerned Scientists
     National Wildlife Federation
     National Environmental Trust
     Association of Birth Defect Children
     Beyond Pesticides/ National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides 
     Center for Children's Environmental Health
     US Public Interest Group
     Chemical Sensitivity Disorders Association 
     Children's Heath Environment Coalition 
     Kids for Saving Earth
     Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Referral & Resources 
     National Coalition for the Chemically Injured 
     National Environmental Health Strategies 
     Pesticide Action Network North America 
     Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
     Physicians for Social Responsibility
     Practical Allergy Research Foundation
     Rachel Carson Council 
     Women's Environmental and Development Organization
     
     
     
     
     Businesses
     
     Bio-Logical Pest Management, Inc.
     Institute of Pest Management, Inc.
     Toxicology International, Inc.
     
     
     
     
     
     Regional / Local Supporters
     
     Action for a Clean Environment
     Agricultural Resources Center (NC)
     American Public Information on the Environment (CT)
     Californians for Alternatives to Toxics
     California Public Interest Research Group
     Cancer Awareness Coalition (NY)
     Centro Independiente de Trabajoadores Agricolas (NY)
     Chemical Connection: Public Health Network of Texans Sensitive to 
     Chemicals
     Citizens for a Better Environment (IL, MN, WI)
     Citizens for Alternatives to Toxins (MI)
     Clean Action Alliance of Massachusetts
     Coalition Against Toxics (NJ)
     Coalition for Environmentally Safe Schools (WA)
     Colorado for Alternatives to Toxics 
     Colorado Pesticide Network
     Committee for Alternatives to Pesticides of the Green Decade Coalition 
     (MA)
     Connecticut Fund for the Environment
     Ecological Action of Rhode Island
     Ecological Health Organization (CT)
     Environment & Human Health, Inc. (CT)
     Environmental Advocates (NY)
     Grassroots Coalition (CT)
     Great Swamp Watershed Association (NJ)
     Greater Boston Physician for Social Responsibility's Human Health & 
     Environment Project
     Green Party of Arkansas
     Hamilton-Wenham Pesticide Awareness Committee (MA)
     Healthy Schools Network (NY)
     Hilltown Anti-herbicide Coalition (MA)
     Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation (FL)
     Manasota 88 (FL)
     Maryland Pesticide Network
     Maryland Public Interest Research Group
     Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group
     Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
     Missouri - Safer Management of Pests and Landscapes
     Missouri - Safer Management of Pests and Landscapes Jr.
     Native Ecology Initiative, Inc. (MA)
     New Jersey Coalition for Peace and Justice 
     New Jersey Environmental Federation
     New York Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides
     Oregon Environmental Council
     Pesticide Watch (CA)
     Protect All Children's Environment (NC)
     SAFE SCHOOLS (LA)
     Safer Pest Control Project (IL)
     Saint Paul Neighborhood Energy Consortium (MN)
     Save the Bay (RI)
     Sierra Club, New Jersey Chapter
     Vermont Public Interest Research Group
     Volunteers for a Healthy Valley (CA)
     Women's Cancer Resource Center (CA)
     Women's Voices for the Earth (MT)


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