Statement on Herbicide Applications on North Palos School Grounds
There is simply nothing more important than the safety, health and well-being of our children and we constantly review both internal and external factors in our schools and grounds to be sure we are doing all we can in this area.While we will always be vigilant regarding the use of herbicides, cleaning fluids or any chemicals used in and on school property, we remain comfortable with our decision to allow a targeted approach to herbicide use on the grass.
Our decision is based on:
- Employ Trained Professionals. Our overall commitment to student safety is reflected by our decision to use a professional turf care company to apply needed products. We use the largest professional turf care company in America that employs a trained team of professionals who only use products that have been vigorously tested and approved the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and registered for use in the State of Illinois.
- Follow Best Practices. The best practices related to herbicide application reflect an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to turf care. As US EPA notes on its "Integrated Pest Management in Schools" website, IPM calls for the use of herbicides just in the areas where they are needed and not on a wide-area basis. Similarly, it notes that fertilizers should be applied several times during the year, rather than just using one heavy application a year. As a result, the turf care company we employ does not "blanket" the turf with herbicides for broadleaf weeds; rather, they focus them just on the problem areas. For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/ipm.
- Use the Right Products to Minimize Risk. The products that are applied to school property do not contain any of the active ingredients that either the International Agency for Research on Cancer or the US EPA have classified as known or probable carcinogens, nor are likely to be carcinogenic. The products are mixed and applied in a highly diluted solution as instructed by the manufacturer's label. A typical fertilizer or weed control mixture will consist of 92% water.
- Products Applied are Well Known. Products used are no different than any product anyone can purchase at Lowe’s, Home Depot or at a local lawn and garden center - the only difference is in our case they are applied by educated, trained and experienced professionals that are properly licensed / certified by the state. The professional turf care company we employ provides its employees with the training necessary to properly apply lawn care products, including the knowledge as to when and where an application is required and what amount is right for the job.
- Use Approved and Thoroughly-Tested Products. We remain 100% committed to only using products that satisfy the EPA’s rigorous qualifications in order to provide maximum peace of mind. To address potential environmental and health risks, the US EPA oversees a rigorous process to assure that the public and the environment are protected from unreasonable risk. Federal law requires herbicides to undergo lengthy and detailed scientific testing before they can be registered and approved for sale and application. To make such determinations, EPA requires more than 100 different scientific studies and tests from applicants. For more information on these and other EPA standards, visit http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/riskassess.htm and http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating.
- Ample Product Data Available. There is a tremendous amount of data available on the nature and use of all types of chemicals. The types of products we permit to be applied are those which have been thoroughly evaluated by federal and state government agencies and pass their test, those which come from reputable manufacturers, those applied by educated and trained professionals and, perhaps most importantly, products which have survived thorough, peerreviewed scientific evaluation. There are a variety of sources which can be tapped for additional background and information:
- US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Information on herbicides, herbicide use and a variety of related topics can be found at: www.epa.gov/pesticides
- The Environmental Health Foundation (EHRF).
- Background. The EHRF is a nonprofit, nonpartisan scientific research foundation focused on furthering the understanding of science related to health and the environment, and especially the interaction between the environment and human health. EHRF works through its national network of scientists who are experts in relevant academic fields to foster an approach to addressing health and environmental issues of broad public importance in a manner based on the most up-to-date scientific information.
- Web address: http://www.ehrf.info/?page_id=15.
- Turf Care-Related Research.
- EHRF Executive Director Dr. John Heinze has written on the benefits of green space (http://www.ehrf.info/wpcontent/ uploads/2011/09/BenefitsofGreenSpace.pdf).
- EHRF Affiliated Scientist, Dr. Katherine von Stackelberg (also of NEK Associates, Ltd. and the Harvard School of Public Health) has written on the Ecosystem Services from Green Space (http://www.ehrf.info/?page_id=63) and the Safety of Products Used toMaintain Green Space (http://www.ehrf.info/?page_id=76).
- Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE).
- Background. RISE is an industry organization which represents companies involved in various parts of the turf care industry.
- Web address: http://www.pestfacts.org
- Turf Care-Related Research: http://www.debugthemyths.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=23&Itemid=3
- US Chamber of Commerce (USCoC).
- Background. The US Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions.
- Web address: https://www.uschamber.com
- Turf Care-Related Research. http://uscclawnandlandscapecoalition.com
- Summary. We are aware there are some organizations and individuals who have concerns about any chemical usage, from indoor cleaning fluids to food additives to outdoor turf products. Our commitment to protecting and advancing the health and well-being for all our kids is second to none and it is for that reason that we feel we must make data-driven decisions and analysis from those who are scientific experts and seasoned authorities in this area.