Best practices for school pesticide use now available online

The Maine Board of Pesticides Control has recently developed best management practices for pesticide use on school grounds and published them on the Department of Agriculture’s integrated pest management website: thinkfirstspraylast.org/schoolipm.

During the 2011 session, the Maine Legislature directed the Board of Pesticides Control to evaluate the use of pesticides on school grounds and to develop best management practices for pesticide use, with the goal of minimizing human exposure to pesticides. Resolve 2011, Chapter 59, also directed the Board to provide every school district in the state with a copy of the practices developed under the resolve.

The Best Management Practices (BMPs) are based on methods used by schools in other states and were reviewed by regional and local grounds management specialists. Applying these recommendations should also help schools reduce maintenance costs, while improving the safety and appearance of school athletic fields and grounds.

The Board also reminds schools that on school properties (including private and public properties used for school sports) pesticides may only be applied by licensed commercial applicators, and only in accordance with the school’s integrated pest management policy. In addition, the Board’s Chapter 27, Standards for Pesticide Application and Public Notification in Schools, is an important regulation that is designed to help reduce pesticide exposure and to keep parents, guardians, and staff informed about pesticide applications with higher risks of exposure.

Recently, an unlicensed school employee misapplied pesticides at a central Maine school, resulting in several staff members seeking medical attention. The school unit was penalized for violating state pesticide regulations.

Pesticide use is not only a safety concern, but also a hot-button issue with many parents, staff, and the general public.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources School IPM Program provides resources, consultation, and training to support adoption of these best management practices and other pest management practices that reduce pest and pesticide related risks and improve health and safety.

Resources and more information

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