Law Limits Toxins in Schools

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A September 22, 2006 article by Kerra Bolton notes multiple chemical fears leading to new chemical regulations on pesticides and school buses in North Carolina -- but squeezes in one skeptical sentence referring to ACSH:

State public schools will be required to limit use of pesticides and keep buses from idling too long, beginning Oct. 1.

The new law requires schools to notify parents within seventy-two hours of a spraying. Schools must come up with a plan on the bus requirement and are banned entirely from using arsenic-treated wood on playgrounds.

"Children have developing systems that are vulnerable to pollutants," said Rep. Grier Martin, D-Wake, who sponsored the legislation. "They spend almost a third of their days during the week in school. If we could reduce their exposure to toxins in school, we could make a sizeable improvement in their health."

No specific case prompted the legislation, Martin said...

Many school buses run on diesel fuel and that could be harmful when it comes to allowing them to idle near large populations of children.

"It [the new law] gives school systems in Wilmington or Asheville the flexibility to come up with a plan to reduce idling," Martin said. "Maybe you would be idling school buses longer in Asheville because it's colder outside."

Conflicting information exists about treated lumber used at playgrounds.

The American Council on Science and Health maintains the wood is safe.

But the University of Washington Extension Service recommends that children wash their hands after direct contact with treated lumber.

To counter just a few of the fears raised in this one short article, you'd better see ACSH's report on Good Stories, Bad Science for a section on pressure-treated wood, and our report on School Buses and Diesel Fuel, our book Are Children More Vulnerable to Environmental Chemicals?