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Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Schools: Reasons for Change
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Reasons for Change
Barriers to Change
Case Studies
Environmental Regulations
P2 Opportunities
Glossary of Terms
Key Contacts
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Administrator Information, School IPM
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Introduction to IPM (Michigan)
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IPM for Your School
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IPM Handbook
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Pest Management Practices in Minnesota K-12 Schools
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Poisoned Schools: Invisible Threats Visible Actions
This report discusses many aspects of toxic chemicals in schools, and included is pesticides, develo...

<big><b>Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Schools: Reasons for Change</b></big>

School administrators are compelled to balance between risks associated with uncontrolled pest infestations and risks linked with pest control. Uncontrolled wasp or hornet nests pose imminent threats for children sensitive to stings. Cockroach infestations and their subsequent waste are suspected asthma triggers. However, schools must ensure that students and staff are not at risk from pesticide exposure.

Reasons for implementing a School Integrated Pest Management program at arises from three primary concerns:

  • Student and public health
  • Environmental health and quality
  • Regulatory

Several strong incentives can help us transition to IPM including the following:

  • Budgetary savings and reallocation of funds to education
  • Energy efficiency, which is a complementary benefit of IPM
  • Parental concerns
  • Improved productivity of students and teaching staff, including less missed time and work days
  • Legal (regulatory) requirements mandated by state and local governments
  • Increasing liability risks associated with health issues.

?A growing body of scientific knowledge demonstrates that children may suffer disproportionately from environmental health risks and safety risks. These risks arise because children's neurological, immunological, digestive, and other bodily systems are still developing; children eat more food, drink more fluids, and breathe more air in proportion to their body weight than adults; children's size and weight may diminish their protection from standard safety features; and children's behavior patterns may make them more susceptible to accidents because they are less able to protect themselves.? See: Executive Order 13045?Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks 1997

Student and Public Health
Pesticides include substances that are designed to repel, control, and/or kill all pests and include disinfectants, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, and wood preservatives. Primary pests of concern are mold, insects, rodents, and weeds. Many of these pesticides are linked to long-term health problems (cancer, endocrine disruption, and neurological disorders).

Control methods too often rely upon poisons that are not effective by themselves for long-term management of pests and are hazardous to people, pets, and other animals. Young children, because of their sensitivity and physical development, are especially vulnerable to pesticides.

  • Their bodies and nervous systems are growing rapidly.
  • Children eat and drink more per pound of body weight than adults
  • They spend a large portion of their day inside schools or child-care facilities
  • Young children encounter pesticide residues through their natural discovery behaviors: crawling, tasting everything, putting objects in their mouths, and hand-to-mouth activities.

A recognized need to prevent health risks and disruptions from pests in schools exists. Yet, a delicate balance between preventing pests and minimizing pesticide use in school environments is a legitimate desire. IPM is a systematic strategy for solving pesticide problems in school environments that maximizes public safety and minimizes environmental health risks.


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Schools Topic Hub™ was developed by:

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Hub Last Updated: 5/2/2009