New JAMA Study prompts call for passage of federal bill modeled after New Jersey law passed in 2002
LAWRENCEVILLE – Senator Barbara Buono joined with Congressman Rush Holt on today in calling for the quick passage of “The School Environment Protection Act of 2005” (H.R. 110), a bill that uses Senator Buono’s successful 2002 legislation to set national standards for the use of pesticides in schools.
“New Jersey demonstrated its leadership in environmental protections years ago by passing landmark legislation which responded to growing medical evidence linking exposure to pesticides with an increased risk of developing chronic asthma or childhood cancer,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex. “The new peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, ‘Acute Illnesses Associated With Pesticide Exposure at Schools,’ confirms what had been common sense to parents – that the poisons used to control insects, vermin and other pests at our schools causes certain chronic and acute illness in children. However, the study found an increased incidence of certain pesticide-related illness in school employees as well.”
In 2002, Senator Buono was the prime sponsor of the “School Integrated Pest Management Act.” The new law required public and private schools to adopt an integrated pest management (IPM) policy that is consistent with a model policy developed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The bill also established a hierarchy with a preference for nonchemical means of pest control, such as sanitation and structural repair, then the use of low impact pesticides, then other, more toxic pesticides. The bill passed both the Senate and Assembly will broad bipartisan support and was signed into law in December of 2002.
“New Jersey’s School Integrated Pest Management Act made us a national leader in addressing the concerns of pesticide use in our schools. We knew that by encouraging the use of proactive, preventative pest management techniques, we could vastly reduce the need for toxic pesticides. I am pleased to work with Congressman Holt to bring our model of pest management to the entire nation so that we can begin to reduce cancer rates for our children and school staff in every single school,” explained Senator Buono.
The regulations called for in the law were put into place by the Department of Environmental Protection on June 4, 2004 and encouraged schools to focus on preventative measures rather than reliance on chemicals and to promote rigorous sanitation and to only use the smallest amount of pesticides when necessary. Under the law, each school is required to inform parents of its IPM policy at the beginning of the year, as well as give parents a 72-hour notice if a pesticide is to be used at a school.
Senator Buono added, “It is my hope that with the passage of H.R. 110, we can begin to develop new common sense pest management programs in schools all across the country so that we can begin to see a reversal in recent child cancer rate trends.”