There are over 7,000 child care centers in North Carolina serving 250,000 children. We need to make sure that these members of our community are protected from harmful chemicals. IPM is here to help.
Toxic Free Kids
Children are among the most vulnerable to exposure to toxicants in our community. Their ongoing stages of development put them at a higher risk for the long-term negative effects of toxic chemicals such as plastic additives and pesticides.
Infants, children, and toddlers:
- eat, drink, and breathe more pound-for-pound adults – Growing children metabolize faster because they’re growing at a significantly higher rate than any other age group.
- exploratory behavior – Young children are naturally curious and display exploratory behavior as a part of their mental and physical development; they want to explore surfaces, including by touching and putting things in their mouths.
- live low, where pesticides persist the longest – Pesticide spraying reaches much higher levels in the 10 inches above the ground, where children play and crawl, and can remain present for days.
- have less developed immune and nervous systems than adults – While their bodies are still developing, young children are more susceptible to the adverse effects of exposure to toxins.
Our Toxic Free Kids program focuses on watchdogging current child-protecting legislation, training childcare centers on pesticide safety, and working with state legislators on safer chemicals policy.
The Schoolchildren’s Health Act
The Schoolchildren’s Health Act (SCHA) was passed in 2006 to protect children in public and charter schools from exposure to toxicants. Included within the Act was a mandate that all school districts and 148 charter schools adopt the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a safe and strategic alternative to the scheduled spraying of toxic pesticides. The SCHA presents a monumental opportunity to protect children’s health, but only if we take action to enforce it in all child care facilities.
If you have a concern or would like for us to come speak with your local PTA, contact us.
But IPM in private childcare facilities? Not required.
(Yet… this is where we come in.)
It is hard to believe that there is no specific regulation protecting young children from toxic exposure at child care facilities.
While children at public and charter schools in North Carolina are protected under the Schoolchildren’s Health Act, the even more vulnerable age group of 0-5 that attend childcare are not protected from pesticide exposure. There are about 250,000 children in North Carolina that attend childcare with little pesticide safety regulation in place. In fact, we are the only provider of pesticide safety training for childcare staff and directors.
Parents/guardians should be informed before harmful pesticides are sprayed inside or outside of a facility. We want to see the expansion of the School Children’s Health Act to include this extremely at-risk population. Many states have already expanded their pesticide regulation to include child care facilities. Let’s be a part of this diverse group of states from California to West Virginia that all recognize the importance of children’s environmental health!