The Environmental Protection Agency has published a new plan designed to help schools stop using pesticides in favor of "integrated pest management," often referred to as IPM.
Schools are often plagued by pest infestations, but unsafe pesticide use only puts students, teachers and other school workers at risk of toxic exposure.
IPM often costs less, and focuses on the root of the problem the holes through which mice infiltrate, or the food scraps that attract them rather than a poisonous short-term solution.
The EPA's goal is to reduce pest complaints in U.S. schools by 70% by 2015 by promoting the use of IPM.
According to Beyond Pesticides, a nonprofit group that argues against pesticide usage, IPM reduces pest complaints and pesticide use in schools by as much as 90% for the same or less cost as a chemical assault. Further, studies show that IPM can actually boost student achievement, by removing hazards that compromise some students' abilities to concentrate. The result is a school environment free of both toxic pesticides and pest residue that can cause asthma or allergy attacks.
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