Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Schools Law

1998-99 IPM in Schools Laws Protect School Children from Dangerous, Unnecessary Pesticide Exposures

Breaking News: Legislators Demand Accountability for Law Compliance and Enforcement in Maryland Schools

Maryland Pesticide Education Network joins the 2022 Maryland General Assembly in its concerns that the Dept. of Agriculture has not complied with or fully enforced the requirements of the 1998-99 IPM in Schools laws to protect Maryland’s school children from the impacts of chemical pesticides.

The Joint Chairman’s Report Operating Budget, April 2022 requires the Dept of Agriculture, Office of Plant Industries and Pest Management:

L00A14.04 Pesticide Regulation

Integrated Pest Management in Schools Report: The committees are concerned that insufficient information is known about the degree to which the integrated pest management law – Chapter 322 of 1999 (Public Schools – Integrated Pest Management)- is being enforced in school districts. Therefore, the committees request that the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), in consultation with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council (CEHP AC), submit a report on whether school districts are complying with the integrated pest management law. The report is requested to include the status of school districts developing and implementing integrated pest management systems for school interiors and grounds and notifying parents on the pesticide notification list of planned pesticide applications. The report is requested to be submitted by December 1, 2022.

Maryland IPM in Schools Laws Limit Pesticide Use as Last Resort

Maryland Pesticide Education Network advocated for the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Schools Law for five years before passage. Pesticide exposures are linked to serious health impacts including learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, neurological problems, asthma, pediatric cancers, and other health issues. Learn more about the health impacts.

This law limits the use of pesticides in and around public schools. It requires that pesticides can be used only after all other nontoxic choices have been exhausted or are unreasonable.

The law defines IPM as, “A managed pest control program in which methods are integrated and used to keep pests from causing economic, health-related or aesthetic injury through the utilization of site or pest inspections, pest population monitoring, evaluating the need for control and the use of one or more pest control methods including sanitation, structural repair, non-chemical methods and, when non-toxic options are unreasonable or have been exhausted, pesticides in order to: a-minimize the use of pesticides and minimize the risk to human health and the environment associated with pesticide applications.

At the start of the school year, all parents and school staff must be given the school’s pest control plan. They must also be given a list of pesticides that may be used during the school year.

If Pesticides are Used in the School

Elementary Schools

All parents, guardians, and staff must be notified at least 24 hours in advance when pesticides are to be used. They must be notified within 24 hours after they were used if it was an emergency situation. This does not include the use of pesticides in bait stations.

Public Middle and High School

All parents, guardians, students, and staff have the right to sign up to be notified about the use of pesticides during the school year. If they sign up they must be notified 24 hours in advance of the use of pesticides. They must be told within 24 hours after they were used for an emergency.

All Schools

At least one week prior to the space spraying of a pesticide, All parents, guardians, and school employees must be notified about the upcoming application.

Schools must provide a means of in-school notification before a bait station is used in the school. The school must include a sign posted on the door of the room i which the bait station is placed.

Notices to Parents, Guardians and Staff about pesticide use must include:

  • the common name of the pesticide
  • the location of the pesticide application, the planned date and the time of application
  • possible health effects of the pesticides being used (based on the material safety data sheet of the pesticide to be applied), and the following statement from the US EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs: “Where possible, persons who are potentially more sensitive such as pregnant women and infants (less than two years old) should avoid unnecessary pesticide exposure.”

Access the Maryland Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Schools Law details here.

Be sure to read the Errata sheet, which corrects errors in the MDA manuals that state this program is voluntary.

If your school is not fully complying with the law, please report this to the school principal, the MD Department of Agriculture at 410-841-5700 and please contact the Maryland Pesticide Education Network at 410-849-3909.