The Environmental Protection Agency this month released a new strategic plan focused on proper Integrated Pest Management in schools through the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.
"Children in the United States continue to face risks arising from pests and exposure to pesticides in school settings. They may contract diseases vectored by biting insects; suffer asthma attacks from allergens or triggers from cockroach and rodent infestations; and be exposed unnecessarily to pests and pesticides in schools," the report says.
Full integration of IPM procedures is expected to be cost-effective, and reduce children's exposure to pests and pesticides. Further, the plan provides common-sense strategies to reduce food and shelter sources for pests on school grounds.
The plan stems from previous efforts in school IPM. Since 1996, EPA has invested $3.2 million in extramural resources to support ongoing SIPM efforts, including outreach and demonstrations.
A formal introduction of the SIPM program was announced in December 2010 and the Office of Pesticide Programs has since developed a definition of verifiable SIPM and a vision and mission statement for the program.
From 2012 to 2014, EPA plans to lead national SIPM efforts in collaboration with other school programs. EPA plans to establish partnerships with many organizations to facilitate the program, including other EPA offices, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations.
However, EPA notes that budget issues will likely be a stumbling block for the program.
"Given the challenges school systems face in adopting IPM, including budgetary considerations, EPA will work on several fronts to help meet the needs of schools nationally. EPA will compile existing information and tools into a single, accessible location for school officials looking to adopt an IPM program," the report says.
To read the full strategic plan, click here.