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HEALTHY SCHOOLS BILL PASSES ASSEMBLY

>A major bill on pesticides in schools, AB 1006, passed the Assembly
>yesterday with Sierra Club support. Thanks to those who responded to our
>action alert. 42 Democrats voted yes. Voting no or not voting were all
>32 Republicans, plus Democrats Canciamilla, Matthews, Jerome Horton,
>Chavez, Reyes, and Parra. Passing the Assembly is a huge accomplishment
>for the supporters, led by Californians for Pesticide Reform. The bill
>should pass the Senate with ease, but will face a high hurdle winning
>the signature of Gov. Davis.
>* * * NEWS RELEASE * * *
>Assembly Passes Landmark Protections for Children and Teacher's Health
>Bill Eliminates Highly Toxic Pesticides from the Classroom
>
>Sacramento -- The Assembly passed a groundbreaking health bill today
>that would eliminate the use of the most highly toxic pesticides in
>California's public schools. AB 1006, authored by Assemblywoman Judy
>Chu from Monterey Park, removes pesticides linked to cancer, learning
>disabilities, reproductive problems, and other health effects from use
>in schools. A statewide coalition of over 70 health, women's,
>educational, children's advocacy, labor and environmental groups are
>supporting the bill.
>
>"Sick children can't learn and sick teachers can't teach. If children
>are not healthy, it greatly affects their ability to learn," said
>Assemblymember Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), author of the legislation.
>"We cannot guarantee perfect health for our children and teaching staff,
>but we can drastically reduce the risks to their health while they are
>at school."
>
>Toxic pesticides have been linked to a variety of health conditions.
>Nausea, headache, dizziness, asthma attacks, and respiratory irritation
>are common side effects from exposures. Long-term effects can be as
>severe as birth defects, nervous system disorders, reproductive
>problems, learning disabilities, immune deficiency, and several types of
>cancer. A 2002 survey of California's 15 largest school districts found
>that 54 pesticide active ingredients that are known or suspected to
>cause cancer, harm to the reproductive, neurological or developmental
>system, and to cause acute health effects such as respiratory
>irritation, may still be in use in and around California schools.
>
>"Children are more vulnerable to the health effects of pesticides, both
>because of their behavior, and because they possess important
>physiological differences from adults," said Robert M. Gould, M.D.
>President of San Francisco Bay Area Physicians for Social
>Responsibility. "Children breathe more air, drink more water, and eat
>more food than adults, increasing their relative exposure to harmful
>chemicals such as pesticides. Exposure to pesticides during periods of
>development may have permanent, irreversible effects."
>
>Meanwhile, many of the children's health problems that have been linked
>to pesticides are on the rise. According to "In Harm's Way," a report
>by Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, learning
>disabilities among children rose an alarming 191% from 1977 to 1994. A
>1999 National Cancer Institute study showed that brain cancer in
>children went up 40% from 1973 to 1994. Further, asthma among children
>has more than doubled in the last twenty years and is the leading cause
>of missed school days in California.
>
>However, the concern is not isolated to children. Female teachers are
>showing sharply higher cancer rates compared to other women of the same
>age and race in California. A recent study by the University of
>Southern California, UC Irvine, the Public Health Institute, Northern
>California Cancer Center, and the state Department of Health Services
>showed that female teachers, compared to other women of the same age and
>race in California, have a 51 percent higher rate of breast cancer, 47
>percent higher rate of lymphoma, and 28 percent higher rate of leukemia.
>
>"While it is difficult to attribute these figures to pesticide use
>alone, they are certainly cause for precautionary action," said Nancy
>Spradling, Executive Director of the California School Nurses
>Organization. "Reducing in-classroom use of possible, probable, and
>known carcinogens as identified by the EPA is just one step in getting
>to the bottom of the problem."
>
>Many school districts are already moving towards efficient, and
>cost-effective pest control without using harmful pesticides, including
>Oakland Unified, San Francisco Unified, Ventura Unified, Santa Ana
>Unified, and Los Angeles Unified. Districts across the country are
>using alternative approaches-such as California's preferred method of
>"least-toxic Integrated Pest Management" (IPM), www.schoolipm.info.
>"Safer approaches can save money by reducing health care costs for
>students and staff, school absenteeism, and lost staff productivity; and
>reduce the actual costs of pest management through better maintenance
>and long-term pest prevention," said David Chatfield, Executive Director
>of Californians for Pesticide Reform.
>
>The bill cleared the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and
>Toxic Materials (5-1) and the Education Committee (7-3) and passed the
>Assembly with a 41-26 vote on Monday the 19th. With more than 20
>co-authors to date, AB 1006 will be heard this summer in the California
>Senate.
>
># # #
 
 


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