Pesticide Use in Schools
Controlling pests in and around schools is necessary to protect children’s health. Pests can spread disease, trigger asthma attacks, and in the case of insect stings, cause life-threatening allergic reactions. At the same time, it is important to minimize children’s exposure to pesticides. Children may be especially vulnerable to health effects from pesticides because their bodies are still growing and developing. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information available to schools on how to make decisions that balance the risks between pests and pesticides. This approach to managing pests is called Integrated Pest Management, or IPM. IPM provides a framework for eliminating the underlying conditions that allow pests to thrive, and for using "least toxic methods," such as baits and traps, to avoid unnecessary pesticide exposures. The result is a safer and healthier learning environment for students, teachers, and staff.
Minnesota School IPM Requirements
Schools in Minnesota are not required to use IPM; however, an increasing number of schools are implementing IPM practices to prevent pest problems and address concerns about pesticide use. By law, a school or school district cannot claim to have adopted an IPM plan unless the plan includes the components outlined in Parents Right To Know Act of 2000 (MN Statutes: 121A.30) (Subdivision 8).
MDH encourages all Minnesota schools to use IPM as a strategy to prevent pest problems and reduce pesticide use. The following links provide resources about IPM in schools for school administrators, facilities managers, teachers, students and parents.
Integrated Pest Management in Schools
Managing Pests in Schools, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Provides an introduction to IPM, how to control common pests in schools, IPM tools and resources, and school IPM webinars.
School IPM, University of Minnesota