OSU helps schools reduce pesticide use, comply with law

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Tim Stock, an IPM educator with OSU Extension, seeks out pests that lurk in Oregon’s schools. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)
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New strategies save money and reduce children’s exposure to pesticides

Mandated by state law, the Oregon State University Extension Service has drawn up best practices for schools to implement to reduce their pesticide use. The plans use integrated pest management (IPM), which employs chemicals as a last resort and instead aims to eliminate the conditions that attract pests, some of which can trigger asthma – a condition that 10 percent of all Oregon children have.

As part of the law, each school district must designate an IPM coordinator. Extension provided IPM training to coordinators from 183 of Oregon's 197 school districts in 2012.

Backers say IPM will reduce costs. The Anne Arundel district in Maryland reduced its pest control budget from $46,000 to $14,000 after its first year of IPM. Schools in Montgomery County in Maryland reduced pesticide use from 5,000 applications in 1985 to none four years later, saving $1,800 per school and $30,000 at the food service warehouse. The Monroe County Community School Corp. in Indiana saves about $13,600 a year with IPM.

Sources: National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides; 2010 report by Oregon Asthma Program; Tim Stock, IPM education specialist with OSU Extension.

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