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Wayne Parsons
Wayne Parsons
Attorney • (808) 845-2211

Alternatives To Pesticides in Hawaii: Should The Hawaii Legislature Protect Children By Regulating Pesticide Use At Schools?

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What do you say? Children are the most susceptible to developing cancer from pesticides. Their organs are small and carcinogenic substances concentrations are greater for kids. Plus kids have many years for the pesticides to do their evil work. When a person gets cancer in their 20’s or 30’s we shake our heads and wonder why. In most instances we all know why. Proving it is hard. The legislature must protect Hawaii kids the way other states are doing.

I reported earlier on VardoForTwo: Pesticide Action Network another source of information on pesticides in Hawaii. And I have written on the subject myself: "Pesticides In Hawaii: Fipronil and Termidor Have A Controversial History." Is it a problem? Read my prior post: "Breast Cancer Risk in Hawaii Linked to Pesticides in Drinking Water and Indoor Air"; worth consulting is the PESTICIDE ACTION NETWORK and the The Canary Report.

In Hawaii we have the one of the most beautiful, clean and fragile environments. How many of you know that Hawaii has an organization that works to protect public health and safety by educating the public about alternatives to pesticides:

Hawaii Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides
PO Box 536
Hanalei, HI 96714
Phone: (808) 828-7182
Fax: (808) 822-0821

If you are in other states you can use the national organization Beyond Pesticides and get Links to Local Organizations.

Beyond Pesticides

701 E Street, S.E., Suite 200

Washington, DC, 20003,

info@beyondpesticides.org

Hawaii School Pesticide Law

I. Restricted Spray Zones Around School Property

Overview: Pesticides move off the target site when they are sprayed, whether inside or outside. When sprayed outside pesticides drift on to nearby property resulting in off target residues. Buffer zones can eliminate exposure from spray drift on to school property. As a result, states require buffer zones around schools. In order to adequately protect against drift, buffer zones should, at a minimum, be established in a 2 mile radius around the school’s property. Aerial applications should have a larger buffer zone, at least 3 miles encircling the school. Buffer zones should be in effect at all times of the day. It is especially important for spray restrictions to be in place during commuting times and while students and employees are on school grounds.

Hawaii Information

Hawaii does not have any statewide requirements regarding restricted spray zones around school property.

II. Posting Notification Signs for Indoor Pesticide Applications

Overview

States use different approaches in providing school pesticide use information to parents, students and staff. Some forms include the posting of notification signs and/or the distribution of notices directly to the affected population. Posted notification signs warn those in the school when and where pesticides have been or are being applied. This is a vehicle for basic right-to-know if the posting occurs in an area where it is easily seen by parents, students and staff. It is important to post signs for indoor pesticide applications because of the extensive period of time students and school employees spend at school. Signs posted prior to commencement of the pesticide application, not after, are more protective. The prior notification system effectively enables people to take precautionary action. Because of the residues left behind after an application, signs should remain posted for at least 72 hours. It takes time for pesticides to start breaking down and some pesticide residues can least for weeks. Signs should also be posted at all main entrances of the building and the specific area sprayed, on the main bulletin board, and, for more comprehensive notification, in the school newspaper or on the daily announcements. Posted signs should state when and where a pesticide is applied, the name of the pesticide applied and how to get further information, such as a copy of the material safety data sheet (MSDS) and the product(s) label.

State Information

Hawaii does not have any statewide posting requirements for indoor school pesticide applications.

III. Posting Notification Signs for Outdoor Pesticide Applications

Overview

For a wider range of protection, states should require posting pesticide notification signs for outdoor pesticide applications as well.

Students who play sports or people continually on the lawns represent a high risk when applications occur on school property. Dermal exposure can occur when a football player gets tackled, a soccer player slides to make a block or a student sits on the grass to eat lunch or watch a game. Inhalation exposure can occur when a player breathes in kicked up dust and dirt and pesticide residues. Even spectators at a game or passersby face inhalation exposure to pesticides that volatilize or vaporize off the treated area.

State Information

Hawaii does not have any statewide posting requirements for outdoor school pesticide applications.

IV. Prior Written Notification

Overview

Written notification of pesticide use is a good way to make sure that all parents, children and staff are aware and warned of pesticide use in the schools. Limited notification-based registries is a less effective means of notifying people and does not qualify as right-to-know because of its limited scope. Requiring that individuals place themselves on registries, sometimes only with a doctor’s letter, afford only those who already know about toxic exposure the opportunity to be informed about pesticide use in the school. Prior notification should be 72 hours in advance to make sure the information has been received, to get further information regarding the pesticide and to make arrangements to avoid the exposure, if necessary. Notification should include the name of the pesticide(s), a summary of the adverse health effects listed on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and label, the day and time, and area of the application and how to obtain a copy of the MSDS and label.

State Information

Hawaii does not have any statewide requirements for providing prior written notification of pesticide use.

V. Prohibitions on Use

Overview

Limiting when and what pesticides are applied in and around schools is important to the reduction of pesticide exposure. Pesticides should never be applied when students or employees are in the area or may be in the area within 24 hours of the application.

In reality, certain types of pesticides, such as carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, reproductive toxins, developmental toxins, neurotoxins, persistent compounds and substances, bioaccumulative compounds and substances, toxicity category 1 acutely toxic pesticides and ground water contaminants should not be used around children.

State Information

Hawaii does not have any state laws restricting pesticide use in schools.

VI. Integrated Pest Management

Overview

A good integrated pest management (IPM) program can eliminate the unnecessary application of synthetic, volatile pesticides in schools. The main elements of a good IPM program include: 1) monitoring to establish whether there is a pest problem, 2) identifying the causes of the pest problem, 3) addressing the cause by changing conditions to prevent problems, 4) utilizing pest suppression techniques, if necessary, that are based on mechanical and biological controls and 5) only after non-toxic alternatives have been tried and exhausted, use the least toxic pesticide. An IPM policy should include a written policy guide and a prohibited and acceptable materials list. Material that could be considered after using other methods include boric acid and disodium octoborate tetrahydrate, silica gels, diatomaceous earth, insect growth regulators, insect and rodent baits in tamper resistant containers or for crack and crevice placement only, microbe-based insecticides, botanical insecticides (not including synthetic pyrethriods) without toxic synergists, and biological (living) control agents.

State Information

Hawaii does not have any statewide requirements for implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

LOCAL SCHOOL PESTICIDE PROGRAMS

Beyond Pesticides is unaware of any schools implementing an IPM policy in the state of Hawaii. If you have any information please contact Michele Roberts at info@beyondpesticides.org.

CONTACTS FOR LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS

Hawaii Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides
PO Box 536
Hanalei, HI 96714
Phone: (808) 828-7182
Fax: (808) 822-0821

For more contacts for local organizations, visit our Links to Local Organizations.

For more information contact
Beyond Pesticides, 701 E Street, S.E., Suite 200, Washington, DC, 20003, info@beyondpesticides.org