Advance IPM in Schools Nationwide
What does IPM have to do with your child's education? Surprisingly, quite a lot! Research and demonstration projects show that IPM schools have up to 90% fewer pest problems and pest-related allergens, and significantly less pesticide use and pesticide residues on exposed surfaces.
Children are more vulnerable to both pests and pesticides. Asthma, which affects six percent of children nationally and up to 25% in some urban centers, can result from exposure to pests and pesticides. Children are also more likely to contact surfaces to which pesticides are applied in conventional pest control programs, and their developing bodies and systems are more vulnerable to the effects of exposure.
The new Pest Management Strategic Plan for IPM in schools, developed and being implemented by a diverse workgroup of professionals with support from the USDA IPM Program, the four USDA Regional IPM Centers and the US EPA, aims for full implementation of IPM in all of our schools by 2015. The premise is that we know full well how to achieve high-level IPM in schools — our task is to improve coordination to make it happen in all of our schools. We need to expand our core group of "change agents" to include leaders in school administration, operations, food service, school health, pest management professionals and others in key implementation roles to fully integrate IPM into the school community.
Dawn H. Gouge, urban entomologist with the University Arizona and co-editor of the plan, commented, "Schools adopting IPM improve the learning environment of their students. With this comes significant health benefits and the potential for higher academic achievement. School staff and faculty report cleaner, better maintained facilities and better communication within the school community."
Improvement in pest management practices for our schools is a necessary and realistic goal. We need your help! Take a look at the plan to learn how you can contribute to the health of our children. The school environment is also a great opportunity to make both students and staff aware of the benefits of IPM in all aspects of their lives — let's work together to make it happen.