Wrongful Pesticide Use on OR School Grounds Worries Public-Health Advocates
Monday, October 25, 2021
HILLSBORO, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Agriculture recently completed an investigation into a suburban Portland school for the misuse of toxic pesticides on district grounds, and environmental and public health advocates said it is time to update Oregon's school pest-management law to prevent future violations.
Hillsboro School District was found to be in violation of the law over the course of several years as it applied pesticides in a "negligent and careless manner," according to the state. The district also used Fumitoxin, a dangerous rodent-control pesticide, which has resulted in the deaths of children, including four in Texas, who breathed in the toxic gas.
Dr. Randall Phelps, associate professor of pediatrics at Oregon Health and Science University, said children are especially vulnerable to these types of chemicals.
"We need to be thinking carefully about potential exposures of children in the environment to toxins, and we need to take some reasonable precautions to prevent exposure," Phelps urged. "If we're going to be applying toxins to public spaces, people that use those public spaces need to have a say."
The fines for the district and the designated Integrated Pest Management coordinator total nearly $20,000. A spokesperson for Hillsboro said as a result of the state investigation, the district has initiated an internal review of its pest-management program to address the concerns.
Rep. Courtney Neron, D-Wilsonville, a mother and teacher, said it's important to her school districts and parks have procedures in place to keep children safe. The Wilsonville Democrat was chief sponsor of legislation this year, designed to modernize the state pest-management law.
"When they are so young and developing and growing, and we also simultaneously know that where they play has just been sprayed with a neurotoxin or a known carcinogen, we have to ask ourselves how we can do better," Neron contended.
House Bill 2406, if passed, would have defined communication standards between schools and parents about pesticide application on campus grounds.
Neron hopes to reintroduce the bill next session and also supports funding to provide schools with technical expertise on pest management.
get more stories like this via email
The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …
Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …
This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …
Health and Wellness
With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …
Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …
As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …
The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…
Health and Wellness
One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …