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Questions to Ask Your Child's School

By Daniella Brower
WebMD Feature

March 6, 2000 (Berkeley, Calif.) -- If you are concerned about the use of pesticides or herbicides at your child's school, here are some questions to take up with the school administration. It's never too early to start paying attention: Preschool children often spend more time outdoors -- on the grass, in sandboxes -- than do older children. If what you learn concerns you, the organizations listed below can provide information on specific substances and help with safer alternatives.

  1. Does the school district have a written pesticide policy? If so, ask to see a copy.
  2. What method of pest control goes on at the school? Is there a regular schedule?
  3. Is pest control a contracted or an in-house function?
  4. If control is contracted, is the company licensed?
  5. What chemicals are used and in what ways?
  6. What kinds of records are kept on pesticide applications?
  7. Is there a file kept on product labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for the substances used?
  8. Are nonchemical alternatives considered?
  9. What is the school's policy on advance notification of spraying and application?
  10. Are treated areas posted, before and after application?
  11. Have there been any reported cases of illness attributed to pest control?
  12. Does the school's emergency plan address possible pesticide accidents or exposure?

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