Toxics Free Schools

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BILL NUMBER: HB 2406
BILL TITLE: Toxics Free Schools
DESCRIPTION: HB 2406 Overview (PDF)
SPONSORS:
Chief Sponsors: Representative Neron
Regular Sponsors: Representatives Alonso Leon, Dexter, Nosse, Pham, Reardon, Wilde

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Background
As children return to classrooms after a long absence due to the pandemic , it is more important than ever to prioritize and protect healthy immune systems and safe learning environments. Over a decade ago Beyond Toxics published a report on egregious school pesticide poisonings. A public records request to the Oregon Department of Agriculture revealed several pesticide exposures that sent children and teachers to emergency rooms and forced the evacuation of schools. As a result, in 2009 the Oregon Legislature passed SB 637, the School Integrated Pest Management Act, which was, at the time, among the nation’s strongest laws to protect children from harmful pesticides. The need to protect children from toxic chemicals remains a critical issue. Medical studies show that pesticide exposure – even at very low levels–has been linked to developmental and neurological damage, including cancer in children (and adults).

Advocating for Children’s Health
Oregon’s School IPM law, now over a decade old, is outdated. Unfortunately, the current law permits schools to apply highly toxic and cancer-causing pesticides products known to threaten children’s health should not be used on school grounds. The risks are cumulative, adding up during the hours, days and years children spend attending school, playing outside and attending sporting events.

What HB 2406 Will Do:

  • Require the Oregon Department of Agriculture to convene a diverse Stakeholders Committee to include school districts, educators, students, health experts and environmental justice representatives.
  • The Stakeholder Committee will make recommendations to develop rules for School IPM programs that use least-toxic options and non-chemical approaches as the first line of defense against pests.
  • The Stakeholders meetings will focus on rulemaking that ensures that children are not exposed to cancer-causing chemicals, endocrine disruptors and neurotoxins.
  • Exclude the application of pesticides for purely aesthetic purposes or for routine landscaping maintenance purposes; and
  • Provide a process for the public to access information on pesticides applied on school grounds.

Take Action
Please bookmark this page and check back regularly for updates.
You can help support this bill by

  • Email your legislators (FIND OUT WHO REPRESENTS YOU via the Legislator Lookup) and ask them to support this bill to protect student and teacher health in Oregon schools.
  • Write and submit your testimony in support of HB 2406. Note: please wait until the legislature is accepting testimonies for HB 2406. We will update this page once the legislature is ready to accept public testimonies.
  • Attend a virtual hearing. HB 2406 Bill page (NOTE: Check under the “Scheduled Events” section)
  • Spread the word! Tell your friends and neighbors about this bill and urge them to submit testimony as well. Post about this on your preferred social media network.
  • Sign up for E-Alerts to stay up to date on the bill and ways you can support the work to pass it!

MORE:


RESOURCES:

Stories Across Oregon

Representative Courtney Neron, the bill’s Chief Sponsor, initiated this effort after witnessing pesticides sprayed at her daughter’s elementary school along walls, around lamp posts, the kindergarten play area and school bus loading areas.

Representative Reardon became concerned when rodent poisons were used inside a school in his district. When concerns were raised, the school turned to nontoxic methods to eliminate rodents by sealing up holes and cracks that had allowed animals to enter the buildings.


Current endorsers:

Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP), Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Eugene-Springfield branch of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Women Leaders in Cannabis, Planned Parenthood

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See the bills we support in the 2021 legislative session