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America's schools have a pesticide problem

Thursday, July 26, 2007

We talk a lot about pesticides around these parts, and with good reason. Marc Lame talks a lot about pesticides, too. He's an entomologist and professor at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and he's on a mission to stop the excessive and unnecessary use of pesticides in America's schools.

According to Lame, 80% of schools use pesticides even when there's no pest problem -- and since the chemicals don't work as preventatives, children and staff are exposed for no good reason. From the Newswise clip:

The most widely used insecticides are nerve poisons, which cause nerves to fire in an uncontrolled manner and disrupt endocrine (hormone) systems, Lame said. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals can result in similar effects on the human nervous system, with symptoms ranging from vomiting to severe breathing problems. Although research is limited, these endocrine disrupting pesticides are suspected in problems ranging from ADHD to autism to infertility, Lame said.


Which is just what you want your children exposed to, right? The solution, according to Lame, is to remedy situations and problems that invite pests to begin with, and deal with problems when they happen. Lame's book, A Worm in the Teacher's Apple: Protecting America's School Children from Pests and Pesticides outlines such a system, termed Integrated Pest Management.

(Via TreeHugger)

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