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Pesticides at School — Ugh

As you can see from the dandelions and bare spot, we don't use pesticides at my house. The kids don't seem to mind!

As you can see from the dandelions and bare spot, we don’t use pesticides at my house. The kids don’t seem to mind!

A few weeks ago a letter came home from school. Our school, like most others, uses pesticides on its lawns. Yes, the same lawns that kids run on at recess and gym. I wasn’t surprised, although I do think it’s really stupid. Who cares if there are dandelions and crabgrass where kids play? Not me, but then again my front lawn is far from weed-free.

Anyway, the letter said that we, as parents, could request notification before spraying. I’m guessing so we could choose to keep our kids inside immediately following a treatment. I actually took the time to fill out the request and mail it back to the guy in charge. (What did surprise me is that there’s actually a guy in charge of this!)

So far, I haven’t heard anything. I assume the school probably sprays in the spring and early summer when weeds are first germinating. I don’t remember seeing any of those little yellow flags stuck into lawns in the fall. Why did I bother? When I get notified, I am going to tell my kids they are not allowed on the grass that week. If they balk, I will ask their teachers to have them stay inside during recess. Not sure what I’ll do about gym.

Some people might think I am crazy. I don’t care. I really don’t. As numerous scientists and environmental groups have pointed out, kids are more susceptible to the effects of pesticides and other toxins. Young children, toddlers, and babies in particular are at the highest risk. A report from Beyond Pesticides has a great quote from the National Academy of Scientists: “50% of lifetime pesticide exposure occurs during the first five years of life.” In fact, anyone who is interested in learning more about how pesticides and kids mix — they don’t — should take a look at this report created by the non-profit organization. It’s well worth the read.

In the meantime, how much do you know about what’s applied or used at your child’s daycare, preschool, or school? How do you feel about it? I’d like to know.

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