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Two California Bills Guard Children From Toxic Pesticides

Bills Would Ban Hazardous School Pesticides and Wood Preservatives


California lawmakers are taking steps to reduce pesticide poisoning of children by introducing bills that would ban the most toxic pesticides from being used at schools and from pressure-treated wood structures.


AB 1006, sponsored by Judy Chu, would prohibit all public schools from using pesticide products: (1) with the highest acute toxicity as defined by EPA Toxicity Categories I and II; (2) containing N-methyl-carbamate, neurotoxic organophosophorus compounds; or pyrethoids; (3) containing active ingredients rated by EPA as known, probable or possible human carcinogen or listed on the state's Proposition 65 known carcinogen list; (4) containing active ingredients that cause birth defects, reproductive or developmental harm as identified by EPA or listed pursuant to Proposition 65; and (5) applied by fogging, bombing, tenting, broadcasting, or baseboard spraying.


California already has a policy requiring notification of pesticide use to school staff, parents and students. While this right-to-know legislation is extremely important, a policy that actually reduces toxic pesticide use goes even further.


Groundbreaking legislation to ban the use of the three most toxic wood preservatives, pentachlorophenol (penta), chromated copper arsenate (CCA) and creosote, has been introduced in California by State Senator Gloria Romero. According to EPA, 800 million pounds of the wood preservatives are used annually; representing nearly one third of all pesticides used in the U.S. each year. Children exposed to soil tainted with penta face a cancer risk that is 220 times greater than EPA's acceptable level. CCA is a toxic preservative widely used in the manufacture of playground equipment.


Although beginning in January 2004, CCA-treated wood can no longer be manufactured for residential purposes like playgrounds, existing stocks can still be sold off and used. Scientific studies prove that the three chemicals that make up CCA, namely arsenic, hexavalent chromium (chromium VI) and copper, are leaching out of CCA-treated wood into the soil around structures and onto the surface of the treated wood, which puts children's health at risk.


Beyond Pesticides recently released Poison Playgrounds: CCA Risks and Alternatives, a resource kit to assist in organizing against the use of wood preservatives in children's playgrounds. Contact Beyond Pesticides or visit


For more information on California's bill, AB 1006 sponsored by Chu, contact Environment California at (213)251-3688 or at, Californians for Pesticide Reform at (415) 981-3939 or For information regarding the Romero wood preservative bill, contact Beyond Pesticides.


School Pesticide Monitor is published by Beyond Pesticides and is a free service to those interested in school pesticide issues.
Editors: Meghan Taylor
and Kagan Owens.  If you are interested in receiving the
School Pesticide Monitor via e-mail, contact us at


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