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Integrated Pest Management in Schools Program

National PTA supports efforts [IPM implementation] at the federal, state, and local levels to eliminate the environmental health hazards caused by pesticide use in and around schools. - American Public Health Association

The Challenge
Our Nation's children spend a considerable amount of time in schools, as do teachers and support staff. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Education reported that nearly 56 million students and 6.5 million employees go to school. EPA is working to ensure that Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is available to school systems across the country. By practicing IPM, schools inspect for pest problems and only apply pesticides when needed. This reduces exposure to pesticides for students, teachers, and other people who work in schools.

What is Integrated Pest Management?

IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management. IPM programs use comprehensive information about pest life cycles and the influence of the environment to choose the best methods for controlling pest populations. This information is used to manage pests economically with the least possible hazard to health, property, and the environment.

The Solution
EPA is working to reduce the risk that pest and pesticide exposure poses to children and school employees. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Schools is an initiative of the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs in concert with EPA's ten Regional Offices. It is a national effort to make safe and effective pest management a standard practice in all of our nation’s schools.  IPM in Schools Program partners aim to:

  • Make schools inaccessible to and uninhabitable by pests,
  • Make schools a safer place in which to learn and work by decreasing pest and pesticide exposure risks,
  • Increase the number of schools adopting IPM,
  • Increase IPM awareness among school districts, school staff, parents, and students.

EPA's Strategic and Implementation Plan for School IPM

On November 19, 2012, EPA released its Strategic and Implementation Plan for School Integrated Pest Management (13pp, 234k about PDF). The plan sets forth the EPA's approach and activities for implementing the School IPM Initiative announced by EPA in 2010. Protecting children’s health is a top priority for the EPA. Children in the United States continue to face risks arising from exposure to pests and pesticides in school settings. IPM is an approach to managing pests that schools can use to reduce pest and pesticide risk for students and staff. The Strategic and Implementation Plans for School IPM demonstrate how the EPA will promote the goal that all of the nation’s children be covered by a verifiable and ongoing school IPM program.

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