Child on Swing

It was one of those weeks where I felt like I couldn’t handle one more burden, problem or ounce of bad news. I went to pick up my kids from childcare and there is a note that they are spraying pesticides that evening and that by law they have to let me know. I would have gotten the note sooner but my children do not attend everyday and therefore my reaction time had to be quick. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes of shear exhaustion and not knowing what case I could make without facts, information and resources in hand.  Luckily, the person who I wanted to speak with was available and as always this wonderful person listened to me, explained that they were spraying for wasps and was open to being educated of alternatives. They did have to spray for the wasps but I feel so fortunate they listened and will look into alternatives for the next pest problem.

Pesticides around children scare me. When my daughter was four months old we had to spray our home for a spring tail infestation and never in my life was I so ill. Shortly after the following winter she began to have asthma problems and now pesticide sprays trigger an asthma attack. My worry was for her health and well being, the other children and the environment. Companies that use pesticides to kill bugs have told me that there are different classifications for being dangerous and that use the lowest around children. They have also informed me that they’re children are fine – which should make me feel better, right?

If your childcare center or school is going to spray pesticides there are alternative solutions that work. Here is my advice for what a parent might want to share with their administrator to avoid the spraying of pesticides.

1. Beyond Pesticides offering links to service providers, reasons for change and the harm pesticides can have on our children’s health and well being and fact sheets. Have them become a pesticide free zone and ask other parents to sign this form to create reform.

2.  Send them an email link to this video for a quick introduction to finding an alternative.

3.  Healthy Child’s Five Steps to providing a healthier environment for children at school and in childcare. This is focused on childcare and for schools which makes it easy to present to an administrator.

4.  Provide examples of schools using integrated pest management programs so administrators can contact other administrators for advice and questions.

5.  Provide the state law so they know what the law is in regards to pesticides. They should know this but it for educational purposes in case they have not been informed.

6.  Provide local support and organizations that can help answer their questions and provide them with examples and resources to avoid the use of pesticides.

7. Explain what Integrated Pest Management is and why it can work.

My childcare center is outstanding, understanding and really just an amazing fit for my children and family but like most centers there are rules, regulations, ways of doing things and a history of how things have been done. I always have to step back and remember that not everyone is where I am on the spectrum of going green and choosing non-toxic alternatives.

What do you have to lose?


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