Two California Bills Guard Children From Toxic
Bills Would Ban Hazardous School Pesticides and Wood
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.
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
For more information on
California's bill, AB 1006 sponsored by Chu, contact Environment California
at (213)251-3688 or at environmentcalifornia.org, Californians for Pesticide
Reform at (415) 981-3939 or www.pesticidereform.org. For information
regarding the Romero wood preservative bill, contact Beyond Pesticides.
Pesticide Monitor is published by
Beyond Pesticides and is a free service to those interested in school
Editors: Meghan Taylor and Kagan Owens. If
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