Skip to content

Children's Health

Font Size
A
A
A

Toxic Turf

Are pesticides polluting our kids' schoolyards?

WebMD Feature

March 6, 2000 (Berkeley, Calif.) -- With the coming of spring, children are venturing outdoors again -- for soccer games, track and field events, and lunches on the schoolyard grass. But according to a trio of U.S. senators, those playing fields and lawns may not be good places for kids. Each year schools spray any number of different herbicides and pesticides on their grounds to control pests of all kinds, from yellow jackets to ants. But no one is paying enough attention to the harmful effects that such chemicals may have on the nation's schoolchildren, says Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., one of the concerned legislators.

Like public areas anywhere, classrooms and playgrounds are inviting places for pests and annoyances: weeds, fleas, mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, ants, wasps, mold and mildew, bacteria, rodents, and more. So, not surprisingly, schools use a variety of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodent baits, disinfectants, wood preservatives, soil sterilants, and other chemicals to control these perceived threats. Although some schools have set their own standards, there is currently no overarching authority regulating what substances are used around school children, and this realization has caused mounting concern among parents, environmentalists, and government officials.

Recommended Related to Children

Top Children's Health and Parenting Stories of 2007: Readers' Choice

Children's cold drugs made the list. So did lead poisoning, smart babies, and brain foods for kids. Here is the full list of the top 10 most viewed children's health and parenting stories on WebMD for 2007. Kids and Crocs Shoes: Trendy or Risky? 10 Rules for Baby-Proofing Your Marriage 10 Ways to Raise a Spoiled Child Lead Poisoning and Kids The 5 Hardest Things About Being a Mom How to Raise a Smart Baby 1...

Read the Top Children's Health and Parenting Stories of 2007: Readers' Choice article > >

Lieberman is a sponsor of a U.S. Senate bill (H.R. 3275) to make school districts accountable for the pesticides and herbicides they use in and around schools. Workplaces have far stricter standards, he says, than do our schools, and he is also urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step up surveys of what's used in and around the places where children spend most of their days.

According to a report released just over a month ago by the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO), "Use, Effects, and Alternatives to Pesticides in Schools," most states have no procedures for tracking or regulating pest-control procedures in schools (see link to GAO report). And in the past few years there have been sufficient numbers of children exposed to pesticides on school grounds to warrant concern. The GAO has tracked more than 2,000 instances of pesticide exposure in schools during a three-year period -- including more than a dozen cases that required hospitalization.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
 
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.
 

worried kid
fitArticle
jennifer aniston
Slideshow
 
Measles virus
Article
teen texting
Article
 

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool