LOS ANGELES, Calif. /California Newswire/ — California Safe Schools Coalition (CSS) commends the pioneering achievement of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest school district in the nation, spanning 740 square miles, 28 cities and more than 1,000 sites, for early adoption of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Policy in 1999. CSS was formed in 1998, after its founder’s child was accidently sprayed by pesticides by a Los Angeles Unified gardener on his way into an LAUSD elementary school, a pivotal event for LAUSD’s IPM Policy formation.

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The IPM policy, created with CSS, had one main purpose: to eliminate all highly toxic chemical controls, and to use exclusion and consistent cleaning schedules as the primary pest management tool for all schools. With a deeper understanding based on scientific research, the Precautionary Principle was instituted as the LAUSD’s benchmark and long-term objective. This Principle acknowledges that no pesticide product is free from risk and all may be a threat to human health. In the face of such risk, we must protect our children.

“LAUSD requires that only highly trained staff implement this IPM program,” said Robina Suwol, Founder and Executive Director, CSS. “And, it’s no secret, the program’s success and reputation is a result of absolutely phenomenal district management and staff, including exceptional plant managers and pest, turf and landscape management experts.

“The IPM program is so highly regarded that CSS receives calls from parents, school districts and communities throughout the USA and internationally – Australia, Japan and England – asking how they can create similar policies.”

The outstanding success of the IPM Policy led to the passage of the California Healthy Schools Act in 2000 and AB 405 (Montanez) in 2005. Together, these laws act to ensure the wellbeing of students, teachers, staff and parents each day by maintaining an environment free from toxic pesticides whose vast and cumulative impact is only beginning to be acknowledged.

“I applaud California Safe Schools and LAUSD on their Anniversary. The adoption of their innovative IPM policy and support of Assembly 405, which bans experimental pesticides on school grounds, has led the state and country in ensuring that our students and teachers’ health are protected,” said Michael Mendez, Pinchot Faculty Fellow Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

On July 7, 2017, glyphosate, (an ingredient in the ubiquitous weed control product Roundup) was listed under California’s Proposition 65 as “known to the State of California to cause cancer.” Before LAUSD’s IPM Policy went into effect, Roundup was used extensively at LAUSD schools. The LAUSD IPM Policy reigns as one of the most successful efforts of the District to protect the health and safety of students and school personnel.

“This action by the State of California to fairly warn people about the risk of cancer associated with use of glyphosate is a step forward for the right to know and the ability to act. Policies such as those adopted for Los Angeles schools move products with the potential for toxicity out of children’s environments and are good for everybody,” said Dr. Amy D. Kyle, Research Professor (ret), University of California Berkeley School of Public Health.

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