Pest management is a necessary procedure needed in order to protect crops and vegetation as well as the public health. It is estimated that since 1945 at least 500 million lives have been saved in the United States because of pest management. Some of the more popular diseases that can be contracted by insects and rodents include: malaria, bubonic plague, and typhus. In addition to saving lives, pest management helps protect crops and vegetation. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization about 55 percent of the world's potential human food supply is lost to pests every year.
Even though it is necessary to use pest management to control disease and crop and vegetation safety, the dangers of the conventional pesticides used by professionals and the general public has been of much concern since the 1950's. Not only are most of the conventional pesticides on the market toxic to people and their pets but they are also made from renewable resources that have a significant amount of bodied energy.
Because the many dangers and harmful effects on people's health and the environment associated with pest management and the pesticides that are used within the United States and around the world many governments and organizations are beginning to develop and use non-toxic pesticides, establish new laws and regulations, and implement integrated pest management strategies.
Integrated Pest Management or IPM is considered to be the pest control measure of choice for many homeowners, growers, and commercial applicators. IPM is described as being "an approach to pest management that blends all available management techniques-non chemical and chemical into one strategy." This approach usually consists of monitoring pest problems, the use of non chemical pest control, and resorting to conventional pesticides only when it is absolutely necessary and the pest damage exceeds an aesthetic or economic threshold.
In addition to IPM being the choice of many homeowners, growers, and commercial applicators; it is also the preferable choice for many school systems and school districts. It has been found that children have the tendency of being more sensitive to conventional pesticides than adults. Therefore, it is even more important for schools, especially those containing small children, to implement an IPM program. IPM programs in schools reduce sources of food, water, and shelter for pests, which in turn leads to a safer and healthier environment for the children.
Many city and state governments are also beginning to make IPM programs and strategies mandatory within their facilities and communities. In January of 2008 the state of Massachusetts worked on a new contract for pest control to be awarded within a couple months to eligible entities access to only qualified providers that utilize IPM. This is because the use of IPM is mandated by the Governor's Executive Order #403 in all state buildings and facilities.
IPM Laws and Regulations
The state of Massachusetts is one of many states that have strived to suppress conventional pesticides and the health and environmental dangers associated with them. As a result of this two of the most popular laws and regulations in regards to conventional pesticides and IPM are still in effect today: the Massachusetts Pesticide Control Act and the Children Protection Act/Executive Order of Pest Management No 2003.
Massachusetts Pesticide Control Act
Under the Massachusetts Pesticide Control Act Chapter 132B: Section 6 makes it illegal for anyone to distribute pesticide that is not registered, to alter or misbrand any pesticide, to distribute any pesticide that is open or unsealed, to distribute any pesticide container that is unsafe or damaged, to destroy or detach any pesticide label, and to purchase or use a pesticide that is not registered. (General Law of Massachusetts, ND, Ch 132B:6)
Children Protection Act 2000/Executive Order 2003
The Children Protection Act of 2000 and the Executive Order of 2003 are part of the Massachusetts Pesticide Control Act that makes it mandatory for parents, staff, and children of any school or daycare to receive notification whenever pesticide applications are being made on the property. (Mas.Gov, 2003, p. 1) This order was put into place because it was found that children are far more sensitive to pesticides and this is the state's way to ensure their health and safety.
Related Links and Bibliography
- EPA. (2007). "Ag 101". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved February 8, 2008 from http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/ag101/pestipm.html
- EPA. (2007). "Pesticides: Controlling Pests". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved February 8, 2008 from http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/ipm/
- EPA. (2000). "Qualitative Measure of Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) Among Federal Employees in 2000". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved February 8, 2008 from http://www.epa.gov/oppt/epp/pubs/EPPreport-Web.pdf
- General Law of Massachusetts. (ND). "MGL 132B Massachusetts Pesticide Control Act". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved February 8, 2008 from http://www.mass.gov/agr/legal/statutes/pesticides/132b_pesticideslaw.htm
- MAS.Gov. (2003) "THE ACT PROTECTING CHILDREN AND FAMILIES FROM HARMFUL PESTICIDES OF 2000". Retrieved February 8, 2008 from http://www.massnrc.org/ipm/schools-daycare/child-protection-act-2000/full-text/consumer-info-bulletin.html
- Massachusetts Natural Resource Collaborations - A website collaboration between the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Center for Agriculture at UMASS Amherst. This website provides schools the ability to report online, in addition to housing the "Introduced Pest Outreach Program"