Dear Parents and Health Professionals,
Senator Lieberman is a friend to kids... yours and
ours. Let's help him help the children by sharing our experiences with
pesticidal shampoos and sprays for lice and scabies. What he says in the
article below reminds everyone that children are at risk even before they are
treated for lice and scabies. Many of these same children have their
bedding sprayed just because theses pesticides are on the drug store shelf and
desperate parents think they are necessary.
Posted from: http://www.senate.gov/member/ct/lieberman/general/r010400a.html
January 4, 2000
GAO Study Finds Little is Known About Pesticide Use in Schools
and Health Risks to Children
Lieberman calls on EPA to fill data gap, minimize risk to students
WASHINGTON -- Senator Joe Lieberman today released a report by the General
Accounting Office indicating that parents, educators and government officials
know little about the amount of pesticides being sprayed at schools or how
often children are exposed to them.
The GAO review, which was done at Liebermans request, documented 2,300
pesticide exposures in American schools from 1993-96, and found that 329 of
those individuals required some medical attention.
But the GAO said those figures are incomplete and unreliable because of the
lack of hard data about pesticide use in the nations 110,000 public
schools. There are no comprehensive federal or state records on spraying in
schools or on resulting illnesses from exposures. And even with the 2,300
reported cases, there was no follow-up information for 40 percent of them.
This information gap is troubling on a number of levels, Lieberman
said. We know that children are particularly vulnerable to the risks
associated with pesticides, including elevated rates of leukemia and brain
cancer. So we have every right to be concerned, and every incentive to take
some action. But we dont know how great that risk is, because we dont
have any idea how many kids are coming in contact with these chemicals, or how
many are suffering as a result. So its hard to determine the exact extent
of the problem or the proper response.
To begin filling in those blanks, Lieberman, the ranking member on the
Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter to the EPA today urging
the agency to begin collecting and reviewing data on school exposures and to
develop a plan for a comprehensive survey on the use of pesticides in schools
to better gauge the threat to students and educators.
In the meantime, Lieberman called on the EPA to take immediate steps to
minimize the risk of exposure -- starting by providing guidance to pest
control companies and school officials on the relative risks of different
application methods, and setting strong uniform guidelines for notifying
parents and educators before pesticides are used on school grounds.
Reading the report, I was struck by the fact that while we have a
national framework for protecting workers from environmental and health
hazards on the job, we have no such system for protecting children from toxic
substances in the classroom, Lieberman said. You dont have to be an A
student to know that that is a double standard, one that deserves our