SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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SCHOOL PESTICIDE PROVISION TO H.R. 1
SUBCOMMITTEE ON DEPARTMENT OPERATIONS,
OVERSIGHT, NUTRITION, AND FORESTRY
COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
JULY 18, 2001
Serial No. 10712
Printed for the use of the Committee on Agriculture
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For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: (202) 5121800 Fax: (202) 5122250
Mail: Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 204020001
COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
LARRY COMBEST, Texas, Chairman
JOHN A. BOEHNER, Ohio
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
NICK SMITH, Michigan
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
BOB RILEY, Alabama
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
DOUG OSE, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ERNIE FLETCHER, Kentucky
CHARLES W. ''CHIP'' PICKERING, Mississippi
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
TOM OSBORNE, Nebraska
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
ADAM H. PUTNAM, Florida
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
CHARLES W. STENHOLM, Texas,
Ranking Minority Member
GARY A. CONDIT, California
COLLIN C. PETERSON, Minnesota
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
EVA M. CLAYTON, North Carolina
EARL F. HILLIARD, Alabama
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
SANFORD D. BISHOP, Jr., Georgia
BENNIE G. THOMPSON, Mississippi
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCLEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
DAVID D. PHELPS, Illinois
KEN LUCAS, Kentucky
MIKE THOMPSON, California
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JOE BACA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
MIKE ROSS, Arkansas
ANÍBAL ACEVEDO-VILÁ, Puerto Rico
RON KIND, Wisconsin
RONNIE SHOWS, Mississippi
WILLIAM E. O'CONNER, JR., Staff Director
LANCE KOTSCHWAR, Chief Counsel
STEPHEN HATERIUS, Minority Staff Director
KEITH WILLIAMS, Communications Director
Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia, Chairman
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Illinois
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
ADAM H. PUTNAM, Florida
EVA M. CLAYTON, North Carolina,
Ranking Minority Member
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
ANÍBAL ACEVEDO-VILÁ, Puerto Rico
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
RONNIE SHOWS, Mississippi
BRENT W. GATTIS, Subcommittee Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
Berry, Hon. Marion, a Representative in Congress from the State of Arkansas, opening statement
Clayton, Hon. Eva M., a Representative in Congress from the State of North Carolina, opening statement
Goodlatte, Hon. Bob, a Representative in Congress from the Commonwealth of Virginia, opening statement
Stenholm, Hon. Charles W., a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, opening statement
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Feldman, Jay, executive director, National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, Washington, DC 1\
Jaure, Paul, president, National Association of Agriculture Educators, Beeville, TX
Trammell, Marshall, chairman, Chesterfield County School Board, Chester, VA, on behalf of the National School Boards Association
Vanairsdale, Michael, assistant superintendent, support services, Fulton County School District, Atlanta, GA, on behalf of the National Association of School Administrators
Vroom, Jay J., president, American Crop Protection Association, Washington, DC
Answers to submitted questions
Wichterman, George, senior entomologist, Lee County Mosquito Control, Lehigh Acres, FL, on behalf of the American Mosquito Control Association
Answers to submitted questions
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSubmitted Material
Bronson, Charles H., commissoner, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, letter of July 18, 2001 to Senator Nelson, submitted by Mr. Goodlatte
Conk, Michael, legislative specialist, Fulton County School District, letter
National Association of Agricultural Educators, statement
Resnick, Michael A., assocation executive director, National School Boards Association, letter of July 30, 2001
Ruhland, James R., president, National School Boards Association, letter of July 30, 2001
Walton, Murray, program administrator, Structural Pest Control Board, letter of July 16, 2001
Whitman, Hon. Christine Todd, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, letter
1\ Mr. Feldman did not provide answers to submitted questions from the subcommittee.
SCHOOL PESTICIDE PROVISION TO H.R. 1
WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2001
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Department Operations,
Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry,
Committee on Agriculture,
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The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:07 a.m., in room 1302, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Bob Goodlatte (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Pombo, Cooksey, Clayton, Berry, and Stenholm [ex officio].
Staff present: Brent Gattis, subcommittee staff director; John Goldberg, Elizabeth Parker, Anne Hazlett, Ryan O'Neal, Claire Folbre, Susanna Love, assistant clerk; and Danelle Farmer.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BOB GOODLATTE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
Mr. GOODLATTE. Good morning. This hearing of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry to review the school pesticide provision included in the Senate amendment to H.R. 1 will come to order.
On May 23, the House passed H.R. 1, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This important legislation was then received in the Senate and passed on June 14. Subsequently, on June 19, in an unusual procedure, the bill was again amended to include Senate amendment 805 offered by Senator Torricelli.
Senator Torricelli's legislation would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, hardly a law known for its robust elementary and secondary education provisions. The amendment would require schools to divert resources meant to educate our children to maintaining voluminous records and sending highly technical information to parents, teachers and staff each time the school finds it necessary to spray a bee's nest in the school playground.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To the best of my knowledge, the language of this particular amendment had never been introduced in either House of Congress, had never been the subject of any congressional hearing, had never been reviewed by either the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Education, and hadn't even been submitted to the National Association of School Boards or the American Association of School Administrators for their comments prior to passage by the Senate.
H.R. 1 is now going to be considered by a conference committee. While Members of the House Agriculture Committee will be represented on the committee of conference, I feel it is absolutely essential that the members of the subcommittee of jurisdiction have an opportunity to review this amendment and in particular hear from those groups that will have to bear the burden of implementing these requirements. This, despite the fact that they were denied the opportunity to publicly air their comments prior to passage by the Senate.
Further complicating this issue is the fact that we have been told that the Senators who sponsored this amendment consider this a take it or leave it proposition. In fact, it is my understanding that the representatives of the industry who apparently negotiated and endorsed this amendment were brought to the table under the threat that failure to endorse this package would result in some Senators attaching more hostile amendments as riders to appropriations bills.
I do not believe that a process under which organizations are threatened in order to acquire their support for legislation, then attempting to deny the other legislative Chamber the opportunity to discuss, debate and offer compromise solutions to legislation is the type of legislative process our Founding Fathers had in mind.
On first read of this amendment, if the Senate continues to insist that this is a take it or leave it deal; in other words, that the House of Representatives will not be given the opportunity to discuss, debate or offer compromise solutions, my response is that we should consider leaving it. I say this because there are a number of concerns that I have with the amendment in its current form.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In Mr. Vroom's testimony, he states that ''* * * before a pesticide product can be legally sold for use in schools, it must undergo up to 120 tests to ensure that it does not pose unreasonable adverse effects on children.'' He continues, ''* * * these products cannot be applied in schools for a use in a way that is not listed on its EPA-approved product label''.
Since EPA takes into consideration the effects that pesticide would have on children and establishes the legal requirements for the pesticide's use on the label, what possible public health benefit is there to be derived from this legislation?
The reality is, as we will hear from Mr. George Wichterman, that arbitrary reentry interval placed on pest control applications, such as mosquito control, will either require schools to shut down periodically during the week or in the absence of these necessary public health pesticide applications, put our children's health in jeopardy through the avoidable spread of diseases such as West Nile Virus.
A third witness, Mr. Jay Feldman, will argue that because the legislation amends FIFRA, which is a public health statute, that this, too, must be a public health bill. I would suggest that one thing all my years as a practicing attorney has taught me is simply saying something doesn't make it so.
Some people claim that this bill is trying to address a parent's right to know. Faced with a similar bill having passed the California Legislature, Governor Gray Davis vetoed the legislation in October 1999 based on his concerns that the costs of compliance were unreasonable. I note with interest that the proponents of this legislation have not provided any cost estimate, however we will hear today from Mr. Trammell a conservative cost estimate would be approximately $350,000 to $450,000 per year for his county alone.
This being said, I recognize that there are certain concepts such as facilitating development and implementation of integrated pest management programs that deserve further attention. While I believe that the elementary and secondary education legislation is not the appropriate vehicle to discuss pest management policy, members of this committee will be at the table during this conference. We should, therefore, take the opportunity to offer the committee's expertise to determine if there are any reasonable compromises that can be developed with the support of all those organizations that would bear the burden of overseeing implementation of these programs.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is the fundamental purpose of this hearing.
I thank all of our witnesses for being here today, and I look forward to your testimony.
Before yielding to the ranking member, I would like to point out to members that due to the short notice of this hearing, we were unable to arrange a witness from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Administrator was, however, able to submit comments to the committee that all members have in their folders. Without objection, these comments will be included in the hearing record. And it is now my distinct pleasure to yield to the ranking member, Mrs. Clayton of North Carolina.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. EVA M. CLAYTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
Mrs. CLAYTON. I thank the chairman for holding the hearing and allowing us to hear from the various witnesses who have the responsibility for implementing this program.
Also I want to thank you for bringing to our attention that there is indeed a process that should be followed. I for one think that protecting children from harmful pesticide is a high priority, and we indeed should do it. That principle having been stated does not mean that we need to violate the rules of full disclosure and implementation. Nor does it need to be that we assert this important issue as a rider rather than have it go through the deliberative process. Indeed, there is jurisdiction, and this is not a fight about who ought to have jurisdiction, although we have those fights and they are worthy fights, but this is indeed a process that is worthy of being discussed in an open forum. I am sure there are pros and cons in each of those.
Additionally, in my State someone did the research for my State, and I am of the opinion that there are several States in addition to mine who indeed have put this as a priority and have several laws now to try to protect the young people at our schools. And to what extent the current legislation that we are discussing is needed bears to be discussed if there is sufficient laws already on the books.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I look forward to the hearing. I also look forward that this hearing is not just an exercise in futility to vent our frustration with the process, but it is an exercise where we have a deliberative process and discussion about the pros and cons of implementation, the costs involved and how we should proceed.
I would be remiss if I didn't bring the reality of timing. The conference committee indeed will be established today. I think they are appointing those members today. That will be on the floor. So this hearing is coming at a time when decision seems to be on a fast track. So I think it is even more important that the learnings from these hearings will not just be a part of the record, but indeed would be a part of the deliberation that will be going on, either this afternoon or tomorrow, because indeed that conference bill is going forward.
So, Mr. Chairman, with those remarks, I look forward to hearing the comments of our witnesses.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you for those very cogent remarks. It is now my pleasure to recognize the ranking member of the full committee, the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Stenholm.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES W. STENHOLM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. STENHOLM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding this hearing today. This is an important issue, as you and ranking member have stated. And the timing is extremely important, and I appreciate very much your leadership in ensuring that we address this matter in a public forum.
As you know, the School Environment Protection Act of 2001 was attached as an amendment to the Senate's education bill. I am concerned that the folks who would be the most burdened by the implementation of this amendment, school representatives in particular, were not active participants in the negotiations. I look forward to hearing from them today.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We can't dismiss the important role pesticides play in safeguarding human health. For example, pesticides are effective in combating cockroaches, which are known to exacerbate asthma in children, and mosquitos, which can spread encephalitis, malaria and the West Nile Virus, to name just a few. I believe that parents should be able to get information from schools pertaining to pest management plans and schedule treatments. The amendment under consideration, however, goes beyond the right to know. If we determined that right to know legislation is indeed necessary, then let us address the issue from that perspective.
It is my understanding that over 30 States currently have some type of pest management program in place or are in the process of developing one. Texas has had positive results with their program. The SEPA amendment, while it has some similar provisions, goes much further in prescribing exactly what the States and the schools must do. This amendment directs exactly what the schools must write in the letters sent home to the parents, the size of the signs that need to be posted, and the exact message that must be written on these signs.
As someone who grew up in a rural community and as a former educator myself, I am also greatly concerned that this bill takes a one size fits all approach. The needs of schools in rural and urban areas can vary greatly. This bill does not account for these differences.
Currently the Food Quality Protection Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency to make special considerations for children when considering and reviewing products for approval. If there are deficiencies in this statute with regard to protecting our children, these should be addressed. It is worth noting that earlier this year, the EPA sent a letter to Senator Lugar stating they do not believe legislation of this nature is needed.
Before moving forward, we must ensure that all interested stakeholders have the opportunity to participate in the process, and we must address the issue of funding. The purpose of the education bill to which this amendment is attached is to provide much needed resources to schools that are overburdened and have inadequate resources, not to further drain their scarce resources.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Again, Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing today. I will continue to work with you on this issue. I look forward to hearing from today's witnesses, and since we have another hearing going in the other room, if I should not be back for the questions, I would like it to be submitted to the witnesses for their answer promptly so that it might be part of the ongoing conference on the education bill of which this hearing is attempting to help address.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I thank the gentleman and without objection, his questions, if not given in person, will be made part of the record and the witnesses will be asked to supply those to the committee within a very short period of time.
It is now my pleasure to recognize the gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Berry.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MARION BERRY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ARKANSAS
Mr. BERRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would associate myself with the remarks that have already been made. As we were making the opening statements, I couldn't help but think, I live in a place where mosquitos are a way of life. I have an automated machine that sprays the backdoor of my house every 15 minutes, and we turn that thing on in April. I live right across the street from the school. I am not too sure I wouldn't be included in this zone of protection, and I am not about to give up that little machine that sprays these mosquitos every 15 minutes, because you can't live in that house without it. They will absolutely eat you up.
So I guess I come from a perspective of if it ain't broke, don't fix it, but having said that, Mr. Chairman, I will yield.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. I thank the gentleman.
We are now pleased to welcome our panel: Mr. George Wichterman, chairman, legislative and regulatory committee, American Mosquito Control Association of Milltown, New Jersey; Mr. Jay Vroom, president of the American Crop Protection Association, Washington, DC; Mr. Paul Jaure, president, National Association of Agriculture Educators, Alexandria, Virginia; Mr. Michael J. Vanairsdale, assistant superintendent for support services, Fulton County School District, Atlanta, Georgia, on behalf of the American Association of School Administrators; Mr. Jay Feldman, executive director, National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, Washington, DC; Mr. Marshall W. Trammell, chairman, Chesterfield County School Board, Chester, Virginia, on behalf of the National School Boards Association.
I would like to welcome all of you and tell you that your written statements will be made a part of the record, and we would be pleased to receive your testimony at this point, beginning with Mr. Wichterman.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE WICHTERMAN, SENIOR ENTOMOLOGIST, LEE COUNTY MOSQUITO CONTROL, LEHIGH ACRES, FL, ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN MOSQUITO CONTROL ASSOCIATION
Mr. WICHTERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am George Wichterman, chairman of the Legislative and Regulatory Committee for the American Mosquito Control Association and senior entomologist with the Lee County Mosquito District in Florida. I am also a member of the Committee to Advise on Reassessment and Transition, representing local government. I would like to thank Chairman Goodlatte for his leadership in holding this important hearing regarding the amendment offered by Senator Torricelli to H.R. 1, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, to require local educational agencies and schools to implement school pest management plans to provide parents, guardians and staff with notice of the use of pesticides in schools.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The American Mosquito Control Association is a nonprofit international association involved in supporting mosquito and other vector control. Our mission is to provide leadership, information, and education leading to the enhancement of health and quality of life through the suppression of mosquitos and other vector transmitted diseases.
As a member of the public health community, I want to advise that there are concerns with certain provisions in this amendment. The American Mosquito Control Association was not asked to participate in the development of the School Environment Protection Act of 2001. Because of this oversight, as the amendment is currently structured, the public health community will be unable to effectively control mosquito populations, which is necessary to prevent human diseases, such as West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and reduce human discomfort or injury in and around our Nation's public schools.
Specifically, there are several requirements in this amendment that need to be reconsidered. These relate to notification, reentry and authorization of funds. One such requirement involves the notification to persons on registry. It stipulates that notice of an upcoming pesticide application at a school shall be provided to each person on the registry of a school not later than 24 hours before the end of the last business day during which the school is in session that preceded the day on which the application is to be made, and clause II stipulates the application of a pesticide for which notice is given under subclause (I) shall not commence before the end of the business day.
What this provision means to mosquito control? For example, if on a Monday morning, a mosquito control district located the presence of a mosquito infestation on or around any property that is controlled, managed or owned by the school or school district, under the notification process the district would be unable to treat until the following Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, inclement weather often prevails later in the afternoon, including the early evening hours, thus precluding treatment of standing water.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Further, helicopters applying the pesticide could not safely fly at low altitude levels during the nighttime hours as well as there being increased difficulty for the pilot being able to see the area requiring treatment. Under such circumstance, mosquitos in the aquatic stage could emerge into flying adults, and under such circumstance the localized adult infestations could migrate into other populated areas. This would require more pesticide applications over a wider area more frequently.
My written testimony will provide yet another example on how this current notification process would preclude treatment up to 4 days.
Another requirement mandated by this amendment involves post treatment reentry restrictions. It states that the period specified on the label of the pesticide during which a treated area or room should remain unoccupied or if there is no period specified on the label, the 24-hour period beginning at the end of treatment. What this means to mosquito control? Because none of our currently EPA labeled public health pesticides requires a post treatment reentry time, then in keeping with this amendment, addressing the previous example, whatever time the pesticide application was made on Wednesday, individuals at the affected school would not be allowed to reenter the treated school grounds until 24 hours after the treatment. In other words, the school personnel and children could not occupy these areas until sometime on Thursday.
With West Nile Virus already being confirmed in the State of Florida, public health officials would be severely hampered in containing outbreaks of the virus and other viruses following the protocol in this amendment. As a matter of record, CDC has already confirmed the presence of this virus in the following 12 States: New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina, as well as including the District of Columbia.
The remaining requirement in this amendment addresses the authorization of appropriations; that is, that are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this section. It is the clear notification, the registry posting and enforcement requirements in the amendment will result in significant administrative costs for every school facility covered by the legislation.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This amendment also places significant responsibilities on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to develop and implement the plans relating to the use of pesticides on school property. Since no resources to administer the new program have as of yet been adopted as part of this measure, Florida's primary agency for pesticide enforcement and certification is concerned that the amendment as currently worded will adversely impact existing program functions and complicate efforts to enforce other Federal pesticides requirements.
Based upon the American Mosquito Control Association's past experience with this type of language, regarding the mere authorization of appropriations by Congress as opposed to an actual appropriation being made, there is significant question regarding whether this is simply another unfunded mandate. In our experience, we have been trying unsuccessfully for 5 years to obtain appropriated funds as it relates to HHS implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 and the establishment of the Public Health Pesticide Data Collection Program under the Food Quality Protection Act.
As an organization of over 2,000 public health professionals across the Nation, the American Mosquito Control Association is dedicated to preserving and protecting the Nation's public health. It is important that public health professionals are able to function in an effective manner in order that they may protect our people and our Nation, especially the most vulnerable segments of our population, our children and our senior citizens.
I would be pleased to respond to any questions that you might have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wichterman appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, Mr. Wichterman. As you all noticed, we have some bells that just went off, indicating that we have votes on the floor of the House. The subcommittee will stand in recess, and I will come right back as soon as the votes are finished. Thank you.
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Mr. GOODLATTE. The subcommittee will reconvene, and at this time, we will be pleased to hear from Mr. Vroom.
STATEMENT OF JAY J. VROOM, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CROP PROTECTION ASSOCIATION
Mr. VROOM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify today. I truly do appreciate this committee providing the first official public forum for discussion of the version of the School Environment Protection Act, which is included as an amendment to the recently Senate-passed version of H.R. 1, the Better Education and Teachers Act. I would like to also commend you and Mrs. Clayton for holding this hearing to debate the merits of having a consistent Federal integrated pest management standard for schools in overall concept as well as the specifics of what is embedded in the Senate approach.
I am here testifying today on behalf of my association, ACPA, a coalition of six associations, the five others including RISE, NPMA, CSPA, CPDA and ISSA. Our associations are described in our written testimony. This coalition of associations represents about 10,000 companies across the United States that are engaged in the business of producing pesticide products, selling them, marketing them, distributing them and servicing those products throughout the United States.
Pesticides, as you know and you have said and others have said in opening statements, have a long history of safe use in many applications, including schools, where they are used to protect the health and safety of children, teachers and staff, and to protect school property as well. Congress has directed EPA to ensure rigorous scientific testing so products are safe when used according to the label. However, a lot of activist organization pressure has manifested opposition to pesticides, and work extensively with the cooperation and support of a lot of the media and many State and Federal politicians to create a political perception that pesticides might be harmful to children, especially when used in schools.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have been through that debate extensively, especially in random acts of rhetoric on the floor of the Senate, especially a year ago. Undesirable legislation had been introduced in the Senate last summer, and the industry was advised that that legislation would be offered again this summer, primarily as riders, as you had mentioned in your opening remarks, to various appropriation bills.
Because of those repeated attacks at the level of the Senate floor debate on pesticides products, particularly the use in schools, industry sought to reach a reasonable compromise regarding school pest management plans. We worked with interested Senators in an attempt to craft a more reasonable and workable measure that industry and the environmental community could support and that could gain Senate support generally as well. The measure, as you know, has been adopted by the Senate, and we believe that the SEPA amendment is a beginning of a reasonable compromise that should be supported eventually if we can work out and find ways to address the areas of concerns that have been mentioned here this morning and I am sure we will hear from in addition from the other witnesses.
As we approached the concept of seeking a reasonable political solution to a perception problem, we thought that there were three clear goals that needed to be addressed: Number one, to seek to advance stewardship and in particular IPM application in schools; number two, to set a reasonable notification process for the school, children, parent quotient; and number three, to craft a Federal benchmark or template for the approach to school IPM issues in schools all across the Nation.
The first goal of the amendment, then, therefore, in the attempt to ensure that schools implement effective IPM programs, as you know and we have stated in our written testimony, several dozen States currently have pesticide laws. Some of the members of the committee have already alluded to those examples in their own States here this morning. Some of those laws are based on a balanced approach to pest management. However, many just prohibit the use of those pesticides, denying schools the vital tools they need to protect children from disease-carrying and nuisance pests.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The criteria for school pesticide use as outlined in the amendment from the Senate are based on principles of IPM as embedded in the definitions that are in the Food Quality Protection Act, the Children's Health Act of 2000 and also in the farm bill, renditions that have been advanced by the House Agriculture Committee over the years. So we feel that one solid component of this amendment is the fact that it continues to extend and broaden in Federal legislative language the definition of IPM that includes the judicious use of pesticides as has been crafted and advanced by the House Agriculture Committee over many years.
Unfortunately, many States and local school districts have adopted what they call IPM programs which stray from the Federal definition of IPM, and we think that, again, the embodiment of that definition in this legislation would help provide some uniformity and some reasonable background as we continue to debate those issues across the range of the 83,000 local jurisdictions of government, some 16,000 school districts across this country that we have, again that template of Federal approach to IPM, as well as the notification component that has been advanced by this amendment, to continue to have this debate in a more constructive fashion in those venues across this country.
I have exhausted my time here for oral remarks. I look forward to responding to the questions from you, Mr. Chairman, and other members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to be here on behalf of the six-association coalition.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Vroom appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, Mr. Vroom.
Mr. Jaure, we are delighted to have you.
STATEMENT OF PAUL JAURE, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF AGRICULTURE EDUCATORS, BEEVILLE, TX
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Mr. JAURE. Mr. Chairman, and all members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present comments to you on behalf of the Nation's school-based agriculture teachers regarding pesticide use in schools. I am Paul Jaure, serving as president of the National Association of Agriculture Educators and an agriscience teacher in Beeville, Texas.
I want to ensure the members of the subcommittee that agriculture teachers throughout the United States support safe and proper handling of the use of pesticides in public schools, included within schools, yet we have concerns about the language proposed in Senator Torricelli's amendment. Please allow me to be very clear that whether mandated by local, State or Federal laws or whether on a voluntary basis, agriculture educators are committed to use of pesticides safely and effectively in our instructional programs. We are committed to teaching our students to use pesticides safely and effectively. We are committed to using IPM to control agriculture pests, protect and conserve the environment and ensure public safety. However, we are concerned that this Federal unfunded mandate could be detrimental to agriculture education programs across the Nation.
Our first issue concerns the contact person. The contact person must be a qualified person, perhaps a certified pesticide applicator. Especially in poorly funded rural school districts, there is a strong risk that the agriculture teacher, who may already be a certified pesticide applicator, could be burdened with this additional responsibility. The role of the agriculture teacher is already complete with classroom and laboratory instructions, activities, supervision of the student's agriculture experience program, which involves time during school and a lot of time after school, and the FFA advice and responsibility which occurs both during school and after school. Placing the contact person responsibility on an agriculture teacher will undoubtedly result in some part of the existing agriculture program going undone.
Our second and major issue regarding the notification requirements, we are grateful to the provisions in Senator Torricelli's amendment that eliminates the 24-hour notification requirements for pesticide application that are a part of the Agriculture Education Program, as long as the pesticides are included at a universal notification at the beginning of a school year. Yet preparing this list of procedures that the agriculture teacher anticipates used throughout the year will be extensive. This requirement will be a substantial burden on the agriculture teacher. In addition, if the teacher determines that the need to use pesticides during the year that are not included in the early notification, the teacher will be responsible for the 24-hour prior notice to the persons listed on the registry. Please bear in mind that the agriculture teacher would be using the pesticides in accordance with all the safety rules and regulations of the pesticide manufacturer, EPA and other regulatory agencies.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our next major concern is advanced emergencies. This definition of emergency addresses threat to the health and safety of students and staff members. We assume this language applies that an emergency condition will exist only in cases of stinging or biting insects that present health risks to persons. We believe that there could be a need for emergency applications of pesticides in agriculture laboratories. Such emergencies would not endanger humans. Rather, such emergencies would endanger the health of living plants and animals used in the laboratories. To do anything but respond immediately to these emergencies would be poor teaching and could lead to alarming results in the laboratories. Therefore, we suggest the definition of emergencies be expanded to include components of agriculture education instructional programs.
Our fourth concerns deal with the potential of legal action against the school, and especially the agriculture teacher, that would result from these new regulations. The risk language is scary. It is certainly true that exposure to certain chemicals is harmful to humans, especially pregnant women, infants and children, but we are not aware of any evidence that suggests that children and adults are in any greater health risk from overexposure at schools than at any other location. To present this language to parents, guardians and school staffs seems to be inviting undue concerns and potential legal action. The emergency applications of pesticides with notification to persons listed on the registry after the fact could also present legal consequences. Further, if school administrators claim that the risk of pesticide application in schools are so great, parents and guardians may expect their children to be offered extended excuse absences from school following a pesticide application.
Finally, we are experiencing a nationwide shortage of agriculture teachers. Adding these additional requirements to the agriculture teacher responsibility may make the teaching profession less appealing to some, therefore make the teacher shortage problem even worse. We believe that agriculture teachers are doing a great job of using pesticides in their instructional programs safely, and we believe the teachers are teaching their students to use the product safely as well. We do not believe that additional regulations on pesticide use in agriculture education programs will advance agriculture education or help to ensure public safety.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, we doubt that such regulations will result in schools becoming safer places for children and adults, because schools are not unsafe now.
To summarize, Mr. Chairman, agriculture teachers nationwide strongly believe in keeping both children and adults safe from misuse and overexposure of pesticides. Yet we recognize that pesticides are a necessary and beneficial component of the agriculture industry. For agriculture education to be effective, we must not hinder from properly and safely usage of pesticides in the laboratories, and we must not be hindered from teaching our students the proper and safe use of handling of pesticides. To do otherwise would be detrimental to the agriculture industry and hazardous to human health. Please allow us to teach students to use pesticides properly so that the agriculture enterprises and human health can be enhanced and improved.
And I thank you for the opportunity to present our position to the subcommittee members. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Jaure appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, Mr. Jaure.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL VANAIRSDALE, ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT, SUPPORT SERVICES, FULTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, ATLANTA, GA, ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
Mr. VANAIRSDALE. Good morning, Chairman Goodlatte, Congresswoman Clayton and members of the committee. On behalf of the American Association of School Administrators representing more than 14,000 local superintendents and school system leaders, I want to thank you for the opportunity to come before you today to discuss the School Environment Protection Act of 2001.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My name is Mike Vanairsdale. I am the assistant superintendent for support services for Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. I am responsible for the school construction, facilities maintenance, transportation, nutrition, purchasing and warehousing. Out district educates more than 71,000 children in 75 schools. We employ a staff of 11,000. Our enrollment is growing at 3 to 4 percent annually. Fulton County will open five new schools this year and four new schools for the school year beginning 2002.
Our mission at Fulton County is not only to educate students to be responsible productive citizens, but also to cultivate school environments conducive to student learning and high achievement. As part of providing an environment conducive to student learning and high achievement, we strive to have state of the art, functional, clean and well-maintained educational facilities, and we also carefully monitor the physical environment around our young people so they can learn in safe and inviting surroundings. The safety and well-being of our children is uppermost in our minds as we serve in loco parentis for their families each school day.
In Fulton County and I am sure in other systems in Georgia and across the United States, we consistently and proactively monitor our campuses for signs of any unhealthful conditions and implement programs to provide the safest and healthiest possible environments for our students. For example, IAQ, or indoor air quality, is a challenge in Georgia as well as many other States with high humidity and high ambient temperatures. We regularly analyze the air samples for mold, mildew and other airborne contaminants to ensure proper air quality. We install floor coverings that are conducive to high air quality and reduce the opportunity for airborne contaminants. We vacuum our carpeted areas with high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filters to reduce airborne contaminants. In schools where we install new floor covering, furniture or paint, we allow time and operation of air-conditioning systems to allow for off gassing of particulate matter. On a disciplined basis, we replace high quality anti-microbial air filters.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In every school, we have a comprehensive reference book at the entrance of the school containing MSDS sheets, material safety data sheets, for all chemicals, including paint, cleaning materials and insecticides used in the school. We regularly sample drinking water from microbiological and other contaminants. We install bottled water in all of our 200 portable classrooms to ensure students are well hydrated with pure water.
The State of Georgia works with us and other Georgia school systems to ensure the use of any pesticides follows strict safety precautions. In Fulton County as well as in many other systems in the State, we have in place now an integrated pest management plan, which uses pesticides as only a part of the total pest control challenge and, believe me, in Georgia pest control is a challenge.
Bottom line is, as professional school administrators, we care about the environment in which our kids learn, and our actions demonstrate that without additional Federal legislation.
The issue at hand is not to disagree with safe chemical applications, but rather to prevent legislation that contains notifications in registries and mandates a significant administrative burden on the local system, with new layers of paperwork and increased requirements on noneducation-related administrative time. The suggested new law before you, with all due respect, addresses an area of concern that is already under COM in our system, and I believe in most systems in the United States.
This proposal which was inserted in the Senate's version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act amendments, S. 1, without benefit of hearing or public discussion on its various assumptions and prescriptions would saddle schools with yet another unfunded Federal mandate. The Torricelli amendment to S. 1 was adopted without even a recorded vote.
The bill before you goes so far as to dictate the precise wording of a letter the school must send to every staff member, parent and legal guardian three times a year. The amendment is a fill in the blanks letter that seems to assume the very worse of intentions by local school authorities. Imagine the confusion a parent would feel in getting mail that suggests he or she should perhaps contact the U.S. EPA to better understand the letter.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Serving as guardians of our State's most valuable and vulnerable citizens, we sincerely suggest this legislation is a solution in search of a problem. We at the American Association of School Administrators ask that the committee and Congress step back for a moment and review current practices. The GAO report cited by Senator Torricelli does not indicate student exposure to dangerous chemicals. Rather, in the Senator's words, the GAO could find no credible statistics on the amount of pesticides in public schools and no information about students' exposure to pesticides or their health impacts.
As local school systems struggle to transfer more resources into the classroom, we are constantly faced with mandates that require us to shift resources to bureaucratic solutions for problems that do not exist. This legislation is an example of such a mandate. We ask you, Mr. Chairman, and the committee to give full, thoughtful consideration to our comments as you address this legislation. Please know our members and staff stand ready to work with you in that endeavor.
With that, I thank you again for inviting me to testify today and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Vanairsdale appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, Mr. Vanairsdale. I believe the gentleman from Louisiana has a comment.
Mr. COOKSEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would just like to comment and get this in the record. I do not know Mr. Torricelli. I understand he is from the State of New Jersey. I lived and worked there in Summerville, New Jersey in a hospital many years ago when I was in medical school and I don't want to suggest that lawyers don't have the educational background to be experts on children's health care or pesticides or chemicals, but they probably don't, whether I suggest it or not.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I as a physician know that there are some chemicals that can have an adverse impact on adults' health and certainly on children's health. Children I think are more vulnerable to chemicals than adults. So I don't think we need to totally discount this as a risk factor, but it would be my suggestion that we consider implementing this program, this unfunded mandate, unfunded by the Federal Government, and keep it unfunded by the Federal Government and implement it only in the State of New Jersey and let the taxpayers of New Jersey fund it and pay for it next year, and give Mr. Torricelli, or Senator Torricelli full credit for it, because he may be on the right track to do something. But anyway, I think we should consider that as a possibility, because I think it needs to be explored.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I thank the gentleman. We are now pleased to welcome Mr. Feldman.
STATEMENT OF JAY FELDMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COALITION AGAINST THE MISUSE OF PESTICIDES
Mr. FELDMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee for this opportunity to testify today. We are talking about a bill that has been subjected to a review by a number of organizations, and in fact was adopted by unanimous consent in the Senate. I think a lot of offices weighed in on this. Mr. Reid was extremely involved in the process, as was Mr. Lott. So in effect, this bill has been subjected to a lot of review and venting.
I think it is a little unfortunate that people are sitting here today before you as members of this committee and telling you they didn't have an opportunity to weigh in on this bill. I think that is somewhat incorrect. I would say that the communication channels between Senate staff and House staff have been very good on this, and I would suggest that many opportunities existed through farm organizations and other venues to bring those issues to the negotiations on this bill.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If we were having a hearing today that was perfectly balanced, what you would see in front of you are representatives of the national PTA, from the National Education Association, from the American Federation of Teachers. You would see school administrators sitting here who say we have programs just like this, they are working fine, they are not burdensome. You would see the National Pest Management Association sitting here saying, we have applicators and trained people who know what they are doing and they don't find it burdensome either.
But the underlying issue, as you have mentioned, Mr. Congressman, is the question of whether children really are at risk here. Listen to what EPA says in their IPM for schools' ''How to'' manual. Despite the substantial amount of scientific information that EPA reviews prior to registering a pesticide, it is virtually impossible to identify all conceivable risks and to address all the uncertainties of pesticide use. Because scienceand I am quoting from EPAcannot in any practical sense assure safety through any testing regimen, pesticide use should be approached cautiously.
I think this bill on behalf of the industry, the chemical industry, the pest management industry, the teachers, the student groups, the parent groups that support this, I think they are embracing that concept and saying we as a community, we the people on the ground most affected by pest management pesticide use have a right to transparency, a concept that this committee has embraced in other contexts. Transparency equates with disclosure. Disclosure equates with a system of providing information.
Now, through the negotiation process, we tried to very carefully distinguish between a burdensome system that the industry identified as universal notification and a registry system, one that really only targets parents that ask for the information. This was done in deference to the chemical industry side of the equation, and in fact is embraced in SEPA.
The other issue that we have been discussing here today is integrated pest management. I don't think anyone is really disagreeing with the concept of IPM, but we have been contacted by a school board member in Skokie, Illinois who says, before the State of Illinois adopted a mandatory IPM program and encouraged IPM, only 17 percent of the State schools through their own survey work found that the schools were aware of what IPM was. So the reality is, despite the fact that you are seeing before you some very experienced people, credible on the issue of IPM, it doesn't answer the question for Congress. And that is, do students have a right to be going to a school where they spend most of their day, you know, exposed to chemicals, perhaps unnecessarily, or maybe I should say exposed to pest management practices that may not use pesticides properly, and so IPM as embraced by SEPA is a proper application of pesticides and hopefully that is what would be available to all students across the country.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Look, let us face it. The FIFRA standard and the FQPA standard is a risk-based standard. You can't sit here, none of the members of this panel can sit here and assure you of the safety of pesticides. Right to know and transparency is a basic concept that gives parents and teachers and school staff the opportunity to know what is going on if they want to know.
Now, is this burdensome and costly? Basically, what we foundand I provided this to you in the testimonyare reductions in costs associated with these programs. I mean, Montgomery County, we could all take a field trip out to Montgomery County right around the corner here and see that they saved $110,000. We could travel to Monroe County, Indiana and see that they have saved $6,000 in the first 2 years in their pest management program. So the fact of the matter is, school board administrators like this guy from Skokie, andwell, he is a school board memberand the letter attached to you from Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, school board administrators, superintendent of schools is urging you to pass this kind of lawbecause he says it works. Most of the people that are involved with this come in with apprehensions that it is going to be burdensome, it is going to be costly, a lot of clerical work, I am not going to be able to make it work, but it doesn't turn out to be the case.
I also want to draw your attention to the other provisions in this act which really take from existing State laws. We are not proposing anythingnothing in this law really has not been adopted in one State or another, whether we are talking about making pesticide information available, pesticide use recordkeeping, restrictions on applying pesticides, which I would like to get back to, training and certification of pesticide applicators, the emergency provision, the vocational ag provision, the exemption for baits, pastes, and gels and EPA's role.
I would like to close by just saying that there has been much made of this 24-hour restriction, and in fact what this says is something very similar to what you adopted in FQPA. Where EPA has not adopted a reentry standard and found that it is okay for children to reenter an environment, only in those cases would the 24-hour reentry standard exist.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You know, and finally I would basically like to say that we do appreciate what you are doing here today. We in our best effort and in a good faith effort tried to put together on the Senate side all the parties that had interests in this. You can't negotiate with people that do notor organizations that simply do not want to negotiate. I think a lot of people dismissed the viability of this concept and felt that it would not go anywhere in the Senate and chose not to be a party to the negotiations. We are prepared as a coalitionI think I speak for my industry partners on thisto negotiate provisions that are problematic.
We have already had long discussions with George Wichterman and told him that we would support an exemption of all the mosquito and public health uses of pesticides. So his testimony today, with all due respect to Mr. Wichterman, is not really in good faith, given that he knows that this coalition is prepared to exempt out public health uses of pesticides. That was never the intent of this bill. The bill was intended to focus on school decision making
Mr. GOODLATTE. Why don't you just do it, Mr. Feldman?
Mr. FELDMAN. Well, because it wasn't believed that the effect was as onerous as Mr. Wichterman is describing it, number one. And number two, you have worked with leg counsel, Mr. Congressman, and you know sometimes the language doesn't become as you always want it. The point is, it is resolvable. It is easily resolvable. We have already had those discussions. I think the vocational ag issues are resolvable. I think the question for Congress is whether you think children should have the basic right to this kind of law.
Let me leave you with one last thought. In every Stateand there are virtually over 30 States that have adopted these types of lawsthe school board association, with some three or four exceptions, have opposed the legislation, and the State Legislatures have adopted the legislation over the opposition of the school board associations. There is a fear here that is not warranted here. The data shows the costs are not burdensome. The data shows that these programs work.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Feldman, your time has expired.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Feldman appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
STATEMENT OF MARSHALL TRAMMELL, CHAIRMAN, CHESTERFIELD COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, CHESTER, VIRGINIA, ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATIONS
Mr. TRAMMELL. Mr. Chairman, Mrs. Clayton and other committee members, I am Marshall Trammell and I am testifying on behalf of the National School Boards Association in my capacity as chairman of the Chesterfield County School Board. The National School Boards Association represents the 95,000 elected and appointed school board members, and as such, are responsible for governing America's public school systems.
Also, professionally, I am the program coordinator for the Certification of Licensing, Registration and Training Unit of the Office of Pesticide Services in Virginia in which I am responsible for regulating 20,000 pesticide applicators.
Virginia's regulatory approach is to recognize that 10,000-plus pesticides that we register every year in Virginia have the potential for both good and bad.
We also, in cooperation with U.S. EPA and their programs dealing with the label language, have instituted a voluntary, integrated pest management program in Virginia and in our schools. Our approach allows each school division to develop a plan that best suits their needs without all of the prescriptive reporting procedures.
Since the label is the law, we do take care of violations in a straightforward manner. What we do is try to focus our resources on education, training and demonstration to mitigate pesticide exposures to staff, children and parents, rather than on a strictly regulatory program. It is our opinion that requiring a legally prescriptive IPM approach does not buy us additional compliance or protection.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chesterfield County is a relatively large educational system. We have approximately 51,000 students. Our budget is about $377 million a year. We have 59 schools and a staff of about 6,800. I am telling you that only to let you know that if I am telling you the impact on our system of this kindof this amendment, you can imagine what it would be on the smaller school districts that would have a problem doing that.
An example would be the State of Maine, where you may have some of the superintendents who may be responsible for more than one district for which they have to work.
One of the things that comes into play as far as the cost is concerned is having the contact person and what the requirements are for those people to keep track of all the requirements of the proposed amendment, including all of the material, safety data sheets, the labels, the use data for pesticide use for at least 3 years after their use.
In Chesterfield alone, we feel that in order to comply with this amendment, we would have to hire additional people. Contrary to what you heard earlier, there is no way for 59 schools to stay on track with a management plan without each school being responsible for their own plan. We would have to track that information.
At this time, I will tell you that in Chesterfield, we already know what our costs are for this particular program are on a voluntary basis; it is about $150,000 a year. It is indeed true; we have done an analysis already, and it would cost us 350,000 to $450,000 to comply with this. Granted, over a period of timeand I say that very strictover a period of time, the cost does tend to go down, but that is not necessarily true in all cases.
We also have a concern about what they call the termsuch sum as is necessary as far as financing this particular type of program. It almost never occurs. We have a long history of either unfunded or underfunded mandates, whether it deals with asbestos, special education or a lot of other issues.
When we talk about the additional costsand there are some, even though they may be reduced over a period of timethis is money that is taken away from teacher raises, classroom size reduction, those types of things that really go to the heart of what we are all about and that is
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCeducating our kids to their fullest potential.
The issue of dealing with reentry is another issue that concerns us greatly because there are, as you well know, only certain pesticides have with them reentry levels already established. This creates a false impression that all the other pesticides, though they have not the reentry level, and they are a problem; and that is not necessarily true.
And I might add, by the way, 95 percent, or close to that, of all the restricted-use pesticides, ones considered more dangerous, are used by the agricultural industry. Very few, if any, are ever used in the school board settingalmost never.
The time frame is a real concern to all of us. Not to be denigrating the EPA, but in my experience and the experience in my agency at the State, working with the EPA, we have almost never met a guideline. It is almost impossible. And for us to now extrapolate that down to the State level and from the State level down to the local level, in Virginia, there would be over 100 different plans that we would have to come up with and approve. And we found that extremely burdensome and not realistic.
Now that I have described the administrative requirements for lack of funding and possible viability issues to which we would be subjected on this, I would like to tell you a little bit about our approach in Chesterfield and how we work it.
It is an IPM approach that was recommended to the system and other ones, Statewide, that came from the Virginia Pesticide Control Board, Virginia Department of Agriculture, the Extension Service and Virginia Tech. Where feasible, we do rely upon the use of baits, environmental controls. We do provide notice. In other words, we do what is necessary to protect our children, adults, and we don't need additional Federal mandates to make that so.
The other issue that is really of primary concern to us is that this is indeed a Federal mandate that is trying to make one size fit all. Unfortunately, it was conducted in an atmosphere without enough hearings. If we need to do that, if we need to have more science, we are more than willing to look at that in additional hearings.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I appreciate the opportunity to testify and I look forward to answering any questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Trammell appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, Mr. Trammell. We will now have a round of questions.
Mr. Feldman, I have to say that your excuse that the failure to provide the provision requested by Mr. Wichterman for exempting mosquito control and other public health issues from this is pretty lame. I mean, when we get language back from legislative counsel, we read it. If we don't think it is appropriate, we send it back to them again.
Mr. FELDMAN. I would say this is a technical issue. As you read the bill, it is clear the intent is to address school use of pesticides and pest management. It has nothing to do with governmental agency or mosquito abatement district use of pesticides.
I accept the blame on my behalf and on behalf of the other coalition partners. But I say, if we are having a discussion on substance rather than process for the moment, then the issue here is, it is not our intent to impose a burden on the good work of the mosquito abatement districts or other any other public health use of pesticides.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Well, frankly, I am not aware of any reason why anybody sprays pesticide other than for public health reasons. The purpose of this is to protect people from being exposed to various public health problems that arise fromunless you are talking about dealing with termites or something, it seems to me that when you are dealing with cockroaches, when you are dealing with mosquitos, when you are dealing with a whole host of rats and other vermin, all of those things are public health issues. So I am not sure what you mean by an ''exemption,'' but we will certainly be talking about that.
Let me read you a quote: ''We believe current Federal authorities, which include a combination of rigorous scientific and regulatory review under FQPA, as well as voluntary partnerships to promote IPM, are adequate to provide a safe school environment children, and therefore additional legislative authority is unnecessary.'' That is signed by Christine Todd Whitman, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In your testimony, your argument against the EPA's review and approval of nonagricultural pesticide uses seems to be based on a General Accounting Office report that is 15 years old and from 1986. However, if the EPA review is inadequate to meet your goals, how would mandatory notification improve the safety of these products?
Mr. FELDMAN. Well, I guess when you strip away the discussion of risk whichyou know, we could have a hearing on whether there is adequate protection, how much progress EPA is making toward reregistration under FQPA.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Feldman, we have had those hearings, and I will tell you that especially when it comes to schools and school children, the risk of exposure to rats and cockroaches and mosquitos and bees, and other things that pest applications are made for, is far, far greater and far more clearly documented than any of the risks that you have ever attempted to document with regard to these uses of pesticides. And when those risks are documented, the EPA takes those pesticides off the market.
So I don't see why this extra, added bureaucracy and the costs attendant thereto and the complications and the fear on the part of teachers and school personnel that if they attempt to deal with a problem, they may be in violation of the law, is going to be helpful in this regard at all. I think it is going to be harmful in the efforts to protect the health of our children.
Why can't we rely upon local governments and the States that you cite who have taken these actions? Why do we have to take action at the Federal level in such a haphazard manner as has been taken with regard to this amendment, attached to an unrelated piece of legislation, without appropriate hearings and without appropriate markups and amendment process that should take place through the committees?
Mr. FELDMAN. Well, there are two parts to your question.
I think the first part, in terms of public health risks, we acknowledge there are public health risks associated with pests. But we would like you to acknowledgeand I think this committee historically has acknowledgedthat there are potential public health risks associated with pesticide exposure for a variety of reasons.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I mean, if you just look at the reregistration eligibility document process, you will find that of the 381 regs EPA is in the process of carrying out, only about 180 regs have been completed. And if you look at those regs themselves, you will find some missing data if you sort of look at the actual reg. So we have 168 to go for which we don't have complete information.
Second, this committee and FQPA supported testing for endocrine disruption. I mean, this is a very serious issue for kids; it is a black hole, if you will, in terms of health risks to children. And we don't even have the protocol yet for that testing.
All we are saying, Congressman, is that there is a lot of good work going on there in terms of defining safe use, adequate use, proper use, but we still have some big holes. We have to acknowledge those.
And if youI would like to submit for the record this IPM for Schools document, which really is a good statement from EPA on some of the problems they have in being definitive about risk.
The bottom line here is there are studies that show elevated risks of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, of leukemia in households where pesticides are used. Put that aside for a minute, and then answer your question, ''Should we have used the process?''
We would like to have used the process, Mr. Chairman, but your colleague, Mr. Holt, introduced SEPA in 1999. It was referred to this committee, and the committee never chose to take this up. I was told by the staff that we should have done more to ask the committee to take this up.
But the fact of the matter is, there are very few pesticide bills that come to this subcommittee; you can count them on one hand or less. And, therefore, it was well known to this staff and to you as committee members that there was a bill regarding schools out there.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Shouldis there a Federal role here? We really do believe there is a Federal role because you have lack of uniformity. As Mr. Vroom said, this would help create some consistency across the country, some basic, very minimum level of protection.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Well, let me ask you this. How would you describe the Texas law relative to proposed legislation before us today?
Mr. FELDMAN. I would say that the Texas law is equal, if not stronger, to this law except in one way. The Texas law does not require posting for outdoor use of pesticides.
But the Texas law is very prescriptive. It sets up
Mr. GOODLATTE. Let me interrupt you there and ask you if you are aware that the Texas Structural Pest Control Board, the agency charged with regulation of pesticides in Texas and with administering the school pest management requirements, opposes this amendment on the basis of it being, one, costly; two, requiring excessive notification; and three, because it has a long reentry period.
Mr. FELDMAN. Texas has a 12-hour reentry standard for its red-light pesticides. That is an across the boardSEPA doesn't even establish an across-the-board reentry. Remember, it is only a reentry where EPA has not established a reentry. Our presumption and the industry's presumption is that EPA would come in immediately and establish zero reentry based on its determination for the bulk of the general-use pesticides that might be applied in a school. If that were the case, there is no reentry standard in the SEPA bill.
So, in effect, the Texas bill, which says if you use a class I toxicity pesticide that has a 12-hour reentry standard and a 50-foot buffer zone, or something of that nature, is more prescriptive actually than the SEPA provision.
Mr. GOODLATTE. So I fail to see why States can't take care of this matter themselves, and let the people decide through their elected State representatives.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FELDMAN. I agree with you. Theoretically, States can take care of this for themselves. But we have studied this situation, Mr. Congressman, and what we are finding is that they are not. And the States that have taken care of this for themselves, like the States of Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Texas are finding that it works. And the question we are asking you is, don't all children in this country have a right to go to a school where they are not exposed unnecessarily to toxic materials, where pesticides and pests are adequately controlled? And our answer is yes.
Mr. GOODLATTE. All children in this country do have that right, and it is up to local school boards and State governments to provide that protection for them as they see necessary. They also have the right to go to schools that are free from the pests that provide a far greater risk to them than the pest management efforts those schools make.
And not all schools are created equally and not all school districts are created equally, and some of the poorest school districts in this country will forgo the use of pest control efforts rather than comply with an additional, costly measure that is complicated and confusing and requires a lot of red tape and a lot of recordkeeping.
And I fear that if this amendment is passed, the net result of this will be that those schools will see children who have a far greater exposure to various types of health problems because of this amendment, not in spite of the lack of it if this amendment does not make it through the process, as I hope it doesn't.
At this time, let me recognize the gentlewoman from North Carolina.
Mrs. CLAYTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have several questions, but let me just make an observation.
I, for one, think there is a role for the Federal Government to intervene in protection of children. But I think there ought to be a role that is consistent with what is available and what the problem is.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And, also, as a member of the Agriculture Committee, I guess, I, for one, want you to know that all members of Agriculture do not subscribe to the fact that we are here to protect pesticides.
I do believe there are some dangers in pesticides. And I see pesticides as medicine, and sometimes the medicine is designed to cure. But if I misapply my medication, indeed the medication is worse than the disease. So I understand there is a balance between what we intervene, or propose to intervene, to take care of crises and pests.
I do know the danger of pests. And so we have to have a balance.
So I don'tI can't speak for all members, but I just want you to know that this member is not here as a bulwark to make sure that all pesticides are protected.
Having said that, there is alsoas we want to make sure we don't misuse medication or pesticide, we also want to teach people the proper way of using pesticides. There is a management system of how we indeed instruct, manage and control that which we have put on the market to address certain issues. So the whole idea of having an integrated pest management makes abundantly good senseabundantly good sense. The question is how do you do it and how do you integrate that with local control.
My State, for instance, North Carolinaand I would like to know, Mr. Feldman, how you rate North Carolinabut do you know the provisions that North Carolina has put in?
Mr. FELDMAN. North Carolina does not have a law. It is one of the States that does not have a law. It is interesting, the only issue that North Carolina addresses regarding schools specifically is to establish a 300-foot buffer zone around schools, designating schools as a sensitive area.
Mrs. CLAYTON. Is that the only one?
Mr. FELDMAN. That is the only provision.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But it is not a provision that is incorporated into SEPA. There is no buffer zone concept around contiguous uses for SEPAin the SEPA bill.
North Carolina would benefit from this sort of provision. That is not to say that there aren't school districts in North Carolina that are doing what many have described here at the panel.
The question before the committee really is simply, can we take the best of what has been done in the various States and school districts and offer that to all children. And I guess my question to you is, show me where existing IPM and notification programs at the local level and in Statethroughout our States, where they exist, have really been burdensome and really hurt.
I am not talking about theoretical calculations of costs. I am talking about Monroe County. I am talking aboutyou know, Susquehanna County, New York; Montgomery County, Maryland, where these programs are in place as we are describing them.
Mrs. CLAYTON. Do you know the system that the superintendent of Fulton County described? Do you know about his system?
Mr. FELDMAN. I am not familiar with it, but it sounds very good.
Mrs. CLAYTON. Now, again, there is a cost factor when you say you are not considering the theoretical costs of money. But cost is cost. Whether it is theoretical to you or applied to actual, there is a cost.
Now, I am not suggesting that one should not pay for having health and care, but to dismiss it as insignificant is not beingI am just simply saying that some things are worth paying a cost for, but it is the costs involved.
Mr. FELDMAN. I think Mr. Trammell's costs are theoretical, his $300,000 figure. I refer you to page 4 of my testimony in which I have documented costs. And the reason I keep bringing up Monroe County is thatfor this committee it is a good example because it involved Purdue University, the Extension Service; it involved Indiana University, and it involved the school district. And they all got together, created a system and they saved $6,000 in the first 2 years of the program. They have reduced costs by 35 percent since the program was initiated in 1995, and they are seeing a 90 percent reduction in pesticide use.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, you know, there is less volume of use, less costs and a more manageable program.
Mrs. CLAYTON. My time is being exhausted. What is the difference between your proposed IPM plan and the IPM plan that is currently administered by EPA? Are those ones that are not part of the register now or
Mr. FELDMAN. IPM, as incorporated into SEPA, is really the EPA program. In fact, the Monroe County example that I keep citing was supported with EPA dollars. They got a grant, a pesticide stewardship grant, from EPA and modeled this program and put it together, and it is now operating in portions of five States. So it does incorporate the IPM program.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I have been advised that the Monroe County programfirst of all, it is a fairly large program. It has 20 schools. And second, it is a voluntary program.
Mr. FELDMAN. We are just talking about costs here, Mr. Goodlatte. For this committee to be well informed by passing his amendment, you would impose an undue burden on school districts, which we don't want to do, I refer you to Monroe County because their cost data shows quite the opposite regarding IPM.
Mrs. CLAYTON. The reason for the amendment is tobecause the volunteer system isn't working, therefore, the Federal Government must instruct the mandatory program for that?
Mr. FELDMAN. Right.
Mrs. CLAYTON. Well, if EPA has regulatory requirements
Mr. FELDMAN. No requirements. EPA has set up a model for schools, or I should say a how-to manualhow to do IPM, why IPM is valuablebut it is voluntary. And we are saying and the industry is agreeingquite frankly, without the kind of equivocation you heard today from Mr. Vroom, with all due respect; the industry has agreed that this works. This is a program that does not hurt industry. It ensures safe use of products. It ensures transparency so parents know.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CLAYTON. Let me ask Mr. Vroom a question.
Mr. Vroom, you did indicate that there was value in having a Federal template that would have some consistency. So I gatherrather, you agreed to the extent he just stated, there is some acknowledgment that the industry itself would like to have some consistency across the country.
How differenthow do you differ from what he just said?
Mr. VROOM. That is correct, Mrs. Clayton. I think we do see value in that component of the amendment. However, there are lots of concerns. And certainly the burden of concern is one that
Mrs. CLAYTON. Not the costs, just consistency is what he is asking for.
Mr. VROOM. Simply because there are more than 83,000 local government jurisdictions across the country. And our industry and our customersparticularly, you know, the pest management association local applicatorssimply don't have the resources to be able to be present and kind of represent
Mrs. CLAYTON. So you would support having a Federal standard that would have consistency?
Mr. VROOM. Yes. Yes.
Mrs. CLAYTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I thank you. And I would also point out that the amendment, as it stands, does not preempt the States from having their own provisions. So it is not going to solve that problem.
The gentleman from California.
Mr. POMBO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That is something that I believe is important to point out, Mr. Vroom, that even if there is a Federal standard, there is still nothing stopping a local school district, county or State from adopting a different standard.
Mr. VROOM. That is correct. That simply would allow us to be able to point to a Federal template that Congress had reviewed that perhaps would carry more weight in some of these arguments. But you are exactly right.
Mr. POMBO. Let me ask you this. Mr. Feldman just said that in one school district, as a result of adopting a program similar to what we are talking about, they reduced their pesticide use by 95 percent. Is that accurate?
Mr. FELDMAN. Monroe reports 90 percent reduction.
Mr. POMBO. Ninety percent?
Mr. FELDMAN. I should say in sprayed insecticides. So, in effect, what you have
Mr. POMBO. What you said really didn't mean anything.
Mr. FELDMAN. What it means is a shifting, on some level, from spraying to baits, pastes and gels and different approaches. So overall, the pest management industry is moving fromto different types of formulations.
Mr. POMBO. My question is more relevant now, because what he said now completely changes what he said before.
Mr. VROOM. I think it actually reflects more, as much as the fact that the industry's technology has changed and there are those kinds of options that the marketplace offers. The marketplace in many places is driving those kinds of shifts. I believe that is where you are going with that, and I will agree.
Mr. POMBO. I had a question for Mr. Wichterman. You have beat down my door over the last several years because of your concerns over the job that you do and your ability to control diseases, control pests and control diseases and the great concern that you have. I think you have been fairly open and vocal about what your concerns are; and I understand that this morning, that is just continuing the work that you have been doing.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I have a question for you, and it all has to do with our children's health and safety and what your concerns are. And I would like you to explain to the committee, in using pesticides to control mosquitos and other pests that carry diseases, what kind of diseases are you trying to stop from being spread?
Mr. WICHTERMAN. All right, Mr. Pombo, that is correct. I have beat down your door over the last couple of years in regard to these issues.
The diseases that we are attempting to control would now include, in addition to St. Louis Encephalitis, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and now West Nile Virus. And West Nile Virus has now just been confirmed in the State of Florida. Already, it has spread to the 12 other States, including the District of Columbia.
It is incumbent upon us to be able to do the proper surveillance around and on the school properties around the Nation, in order that we may control these kinds of surveillancethese kinds of diseases.
And in Lee County, Florida, alone, over 50 percent of our surveillance capabilities encompass either traps located on school grounds or at least within 1 mile of a school property.
Mr. POMBO. Say that again. What percentage?
Mr. WICHTERMAN. Over 50 percent of our surveillance capabilities for locating mosquitos, disease vectors, are located on school grounds or within 1 mile of the school property. And that is our sensitive test point to determine whether we need to make a pesticide application or not.
Mr. POMBO. What kind of chemicals do you use when you go in and spray?
Mr. WICHTERMAN. Well, there are two different types of products that we are using for two different phases of the life cycle of the mosquito. Where larvae are sighted, we are spraying areas of standing water. And we are on using anywhere from Bti, which is a Bacillus thuringiensis. We are using a growth regulator as well as an organophosphate called Temaphos, or A-bait, for larvae sighting. And for the adultacides, we are using other products that are designed specifically for the adult mosquitos.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. Mr. Feldman, it is my understanding from the previous questions that were asked that you would accept a general provision on pesticides that were used for public health?
Mr. FELDMAN. Yes.
Mr. POMBO. Why?
Mr. FELDMAN. Well, because the intent of this legislation is to address the decision-making process of the school and the school use of pesticides.
Mr. POMBO. I thought the intent was to inform and protect children and their parents about pesticides that were being used.
Mr. FELDMAN. Right, but there are overlapping jurisdictions, as Mr. Wichterman has just explained. And we don't feel that this is necessarily the appropriate venue for addressing the issues that have just been discussed relative to some of the very same questions, prior notification.
Mr. POMBO. But I really want to understand this, because these are some serious issues that he deals with, and I think we can all agree on that.
But he also uses a pesticide to eliminate that public health threat or at least control that public health threat. Why would those pesticides be any different than pesticides that may be used for another reason?
Mr. FELDMAN. They are not any different. It is just, this isn't the venue to address them. Many of the issues regarding notification and adequacy of testing and impacts on children need to be discussed relative to mosquito management and public health uses of pesticides.
Mr. POMBO. I agree with you on that, but
Mr. FELDMAN. This is not the venue.
Mr. POMBO. What do you mean, it is not the venue? You have got legislation here that was put in as an amendment thatmy understanding of it is that the intention is to inform and notify, educate and protect children and their parents about exposure to pesticides. And yet, if someone has a good reason for using those pesticides, you want to exempt that, or you are willing to exempt that, from this legislation.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I am not exactly sure what a bad reason would be, why someone would be using pesticides if it wasn't for a public health reason; but there may be a reason that I am just not thinking of right now.
In those cases, you find it extremely important to notify the parents, to notify the children, to post signs, to do all of the things that are required as part of this amendment. But you want to exemptor are willing to exempt, I think is a more accurate descriptionthings that are public health. And the two really don't go together.
Either it is so important and such a big fear and we are out there trying to scare the heck out of people, or it is not important. What you are trying to do is separate these issues so that you can get a wedge in the door to begin to do this without somebody like Mr. Wichterman coming in and saying, ''this gives us a real problem''.
Mr. FELDMAN. Well, I would disagree with you respectfully. The issue
Mr. POMBO. Where am I wrong?
Mr. FELDMAN. Well, because we have two jurisdictions. We have a school district, which has delineated property lines and a management system that presumablyas has been discussed in the structure of landscape management, they are very discrete issues.
It is like a property owner. There are laws in communities that govern what property owners can and can't do on their own property. But, in effect, if there is a community-wide public health issue that is viewed as pertaining to the larger community, which takes into account that property, the larger community's interests are identified as predominating over that property.
Mr. POMBO. I don't disagree with what you are saying. For the most part, what you just said is accurate. But that is not what we are talking about in this amendment or this legislation that is in front of us.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What we are talking about is what you stated here this morning when you said that it is extremely important that parents be notified because of the risks to children. And yet in the next breath, you say, ''he has a good argument, and I don't want to get into that one, so we will exempt that.'' It is still pesticides.
Mr. FELDMAN. But I would also argue, Mr. Congressman, that I wouldin his venue, which is mosquito management or West Nile Virusin his venue, I would argue that he should be notifying the public, you know, and he should be notifying people justand many communities do require that by the way; it is not an off-the-wall sort of requirement. But this is not the venue.
I guess one way to look at it is, we have units of government and units of control within our community. And the question for Congress is whether those units of control, especially when children are at risk and public institutions should be carrying out programs that are protective of children, and then we have larger community-wide or statewide efforts. And are thosedo those supersede the interests of the school in cases where there is a public health issue?
And I guess for purposes of this act and this discussion, the agreement is that yes, it would supersede.
Now, should that larger entity, that mosquito abatement district, which takes in a school district under its jurisdiction or should that entity be subject to notification and other provisions? Probably yes.
Many communities have required before they start getting the aerial applicators out, or the trucks, they notify the public ahead of time that is what is happening.
I don't see it as contradictory. I see it as parallel and overlapping.
Mr. GOODLATTE. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. POMBO. I know my time has expired, but it is contradictory. And it appears to me it is just a way to try to take away any arguments against the amendment. But thank you.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. The Chair notes with sympathy your observation.
The gentleman from Arkansas.
Mr. BERRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There was a reference made to equivocation awhile ago. I will tell you if we are not going to be allowed to equivocate in this body, we might as well shut this place down. I don't know what we are going to do. Seems like there is been a little equivocation by a number of us and probably I have been involved in it from time to time.
I would ask anyone, how big a problem have we got? How many people are we hurting? How bad are we hurting by not having this already in place?
Mr. TRAMMELL. If I could at least partially address that, I think one of the things that has certainly been missing from the discussion is what actually is taking place in schools today with typical pesticide applicationwhat kind of application, what it is for, how do they conduct that.
For instance, the cost factor that we talked about, our figures possibly being theoretical. They are not theoretical; we already have an IPM program in Chesterfield County. We moved the figures up to meet the mandates.
Mr. BERRY. I am sorry. Our time is short. But what I want to know is, how many children are being harmed by this. Give me a number. How is it harming them? What is it doing to them?
Mr. TRAMMELL. From the surveys that we did, we surveyed every school system in Virginia, and we were not able to identify with any degree of certainty any harm that had been done in Virginia.
Mr. BERRY. Mr. Feldman, you alluded to potential damage that these pesticides would cause. And then you talked about presumptions of bad things that would happen. Can you give me any hard numbers or scientific evidence or indication that what you are proposing here changes all that and how much it changes it?
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FELDMAN. Mr. Congressman, thethis committee has overseen the destruction of the pesticide incident monitoring system back in 1991, when it was discontinued by EPA. We have no incident monitoring of pesticide exposures in this country. This is something we would be happy to work with the committee on.
Mr. BERRY. What is your cause for concern?
Mr. FELDMAN. The cause for concern is, given the existing data collection mechanisms, the GAO identified 2,300 cases of pesticide-induced poisonings and 329 medical interventions associated with those cases. The GAO
Mr. BERRY. That happened in the schools? What was the nature of those?
Mr. FELDMAN. That is just a typical pesticide use scenario. A kid got sick.
Mr. BERRY. What was wrong with him?
Mr. FELDMAN. The range of effectsmostly we are talking about acute effectsnausea, dizziness.
Mr. BERRY. Was there permanent damage?
Mr. FELDMAN. That is a matter we have to watch and track these kids. But the realty is, there are some children that have what is called multiple chemical sensitivity as a result of some of these exposures.
The point the GAO is trying to make in their report
Mr. BERRY. That is the 1986 report?
Mr. FELDMAN. The November 1999 report that is referenced in the testimony. And it isit is a report that was commissioned over on the Senate side. It is called ''use, Effects and Alternatives to Pesticides in Schools,'' and what they are saying in here is, we don't have the data collection mechanism to adequately track what is going on. And as a result of that, we can't answer your question to the degree we would like to.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But given the data that is available, it is certainly suggestive of a problem that can be addressed and avoided in the future.
Mr. BERRY. Do you have any ideayou said 2,300, I believe? How many would have been made sick if we hadn't been using these pesticides?
Mr. FELDMAN. Well, these were identified as pesticide-induced
Mr. BERRY. Maybe we could extrapolate that number.
Mr. FELDMAN. This is always open to scientific debate and scrutiny. I am telling you what the GAO document and the poison control centers and others mean.
But the reality is we are trying to engage in avoidance behavior here. We are trying to say
Mr. BERRY. Pardon me, Mr. Feldman, we are going to have to go vote. Time is short. I think there is absolutely no question.
I cannot tell you, since I have been in this town, how many times people have come to us with supposed problems, imagined problems, with problems that actually didn't exist and with no legitimate science whatsoever involved in the request that they were making of us. And I would just beg you that before you take on an effort like this, that you would at least have some shred of hard-core evidence that indicates that the problem exists in the first place and then give us something to work with.
None of usI agree with Mrs. Clayton. I am not here to protect pesticides. I don't want my children, grandchildren, family or friends or anyone else hurt from the misuse of pesticides. No one on this committee wants that.
But at the same time, I don't see how you can expect us to come in here and agree with something like this when you have no evidence at all that there is really something bad going on.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You told us there was a 90 percent reduction in this one school district. Turns out it was just in spray; that is kind of misleading. That may even be an equivocation. I don't know, but I don't particularly appreciate being misled on things like that. If we can reduce pesticide use by 90 percent, I think we need to look at it. If you are just talking about one method of application to another, I don't know what different it makes.
But, you know, you come in here with all these theoretical ideas, potential damagesand I have heard so much of that stuff, I don't really want to hear it anymore. And I would beg, before you come back to us with something like that, for just reasons of good policy, bring us some science, because you guys never have it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I thank you. I thank the gentleman for his very wise observations and would call to his attention a very comprehensive directory of exactly what you were asking aboutabout the risks attendant to not treating for these pests: for cockroaches, mosquitos, rats, mice, rodents,
ticks, fleas, fire ants, lice, mites, bees, wasps; and the types of health problems: asthma, encephalitis, malaria, dengue fever, leptospirosis, hantavirus, bubonic plague, disomic and pneumonic plagues, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, various emergency treatment required for types of stings, scabies, anaphylactic shocks that come from allergic reactions to bee stings.
And there are far more, I would suggest to you, than 2,300 cases. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of cases of people being exposed to all of these various types of illnesses related to pests proliferating, not just in our schools, but elsewhere in our society.
I wouldunfortunately, because we have a vote on, we have to dash out of here. But we will at this time adjourn the committee and thank all the witnesses for their lively participation in a very helpful discussion. And we will attempt to see if we can straighten this out with the Senate.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This committeeI have got some magic language I have got to read. The Chair would seek unanimous consent to allow the record for today's hearing to remain open for 10 days to receive additional material and supplementary written responses from witnesses to any question posed by a member of the panel. Without objection, it is so ordered.
I remind the panel members of the questions that will be coming to each of you from the ranking Democratic member of the full committee, Mr. Stenholm. Without objection, it is so ordered.
I would ask for unanimous consent that the letter from Charles H. Bronson, commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, be included in the official record.
And with that, this hearing of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight and Nutrition and Forestry is adjourned.
Thank you, gentlemen.
[Whereupon, at 12:20 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.]
[Material submitted for inclusion in the record follows:]
Statement of Michael J. Vanairsdale
Good morning Chairman Goodlatte, Congresswoman Clayton, and members of the committee. On behalf of the American Association of School Administrators, representing more than 14,000 local superintendents and school system leaders,
I want to thank you for the opportunity to come before you today to discuss the School Environment Protection Act of 2001.
My name is Mike Vanairsdale and I am the Assistant Superintendent for Support Services for the Fulton County School District in Georgia. I am responsible for school construction, facilities maintenance, student transportation, school nutrition, purchasing and warehousing. Our district educates more than 71,000 children in 75 schools. We employ a staff of 11,000, and our enrollment is growing at a rate of 34 percent annually. Fulton County will open five new schools this year and four new schools for the school year beginning in 2002.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our mission in Fulton County is not only to educate students to be responsible, productive citizens, but also to cultivate a school environment conducive to student learning and high achievement. As a part of providing an environment conducive to student learning and high achievement, we strive to have state of the art, functional, clean, and well maintained education facilities, and we also carefully monitor the physical environment around our young people, so they can learn in safe and inviting surroundings. The safety and well being of our children is uppermost in our minds, as we serve in loco parentis for their families each school day.
In Fulton County, and I am sure in other systems in Georgia and across the United States, we consistently and proactively monitor our campuses for signs of any unhealthful conditions, and implement programs to provide the safest and healthiest environment for our students.
IAQ, or indoor air quality, is a challenge in Georgia as well as many other states with high humidity and high ambient temperatures. We regularly analyze air samples for mold, mildew, and other airborne contaminants to insure proper air quality. We install floor covering that are conducive to high quality of air and reduce the opportunity for airborne contaminants. We vacuum our carpeted areas with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to reduce airborne particulate matter. In schools where we install new floor covering, furniture, or paint, we allow sufficient time and operation of air conditioning systems to allow sufficient time for off gassing of particulate matter. On a disciplined basis we replace high quality anti-microbial air filters.
In every school, we have a comprehensive reference book at the entrance of the school containing MSDS (material safety data sheets) for all chemicals, including paint and insecticides used in the school.
We regularly sample drinking water for microbiological and other contaminants. We install bottled water dispensers in all of our over 200 portable classrooms to insure our students are well hydrated with pure water.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The State of Georgia works with us and other Georgia school systems to assure the use of any pesticides follow strict safety precautions. In Fulton County, as well as in many other systems in the state, we have in place an Integrated Pest Management Plan, or IPM, which uses pesticides as only a part of the total pest control challenge, and believe me, pest control in Georgia is a challenge!
Bottom Line: As professional school administrators we care about the environment in which our kids learn and our actions demonstrate that without Federal legislation.
The issue at hand is not disagreement with safe chemical applications, but rather to prevent legislation that contains notifications and registries that mandate a significant administrative burden on the local system, with new layers of paperwork, and increased requirement on non-education related administrative time.
The suggested new law before you, with all due respect, addresses an area of concern that is already under control in our school system and I believe, most school districts throughout the nation.
This proposal, which was inserted in the Senate's version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act amendments (S. 1) without benefit of a hearing or public discussions on its various assumptions and proscriptions, would saddle schools with yet another unfunded Federal mandate.
The Torricelli amendment to S. 1 was adopted without even a recorded vote. The bill before you goes so far as to dictate the precise wording of a letter the school must send to every staff member, parent and legal guardian three times per year. The amendment is a fill-in-the-blanks letter that seems to assume the very worst of intentions by local school authorities. Imagine the confusion a parent would feel in getting mail that suggests he or she should perhaps contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after reading the letter.
Serving as guardians of our state's most valuable and vulnerable citizens, we sincerely suggest this legislation is a solution in search of a problem.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We at the American Association of School Administrators ask that the committee and Congress step back for a moment and review current practices. The GAO report cited by Senator Torricelli does not indicate student exposure to dangerous chemicals. Rather, in the Senator's words, the GAO ''could find no credible statistics on the amounts of pesticides in public schools and no information about students'' exposure to pesticides or their health impacts.
As local school systems struggle to transfer more resources into the classroom, we are constantly faced with mandates that require us to shift resources to bureaucratic solutions for problems that do not exist. This legislation is an example of such a mandate.
We ask, Mr. Chairman, that the committee give thoughtful consideration to our comments, as you address this legislation. Please know our members and staff stand ready to work with you in that endeavor.
With that, I thank you again for inviting us to testify today and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.
Jay J. Vroom
ANSWERS TO SUBMITTED QUESTIONS
Response by American Crop Protection Association to questions posed by Representative Goodlatte in 7/25/01 letter regarding Senate Amendment 805 to H.R. 1, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
1. Unfunded Mandates
Industry supports the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (PL 1044) and the House of Representatives rules that subject unfunded mandates to a point of order. It is our understanding that bills that pose an unfunded mandate in excess of $50 million annually for state and local entities are subject to a point of order.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The School Environmental Protection Act amendment number 805 to H.R. 1 includes an authorization for the appropriation of needed funds, as recommended by ACPA and the industry coalition. Industry is fully committed to work with Congress in support of increased funding for local school districts and state agencies to implement the bill should it become law.
Further, the amendment was crafted to minimize the costs and burdens on states and local school districts. Although the amendment imposes new obligations on states to develop and submit school pest management plans to EPA for review, states will have a source of funding for the development of these plans since they are developed under the State's FIFRA Section 23 cooperative agreement. The bill was also specifically designed to minimize the costs imposed on local school districts by limiting universal mailings to parents to 23 times per year, and allowing schools to distribute these mailings by various means. For example, these letters can be mailed individually or with another regular mailing or be sent home with students. Further, the notification to parents on the registry may be done by mail, electronic mail, telephone or direct contact, which allows schools to chose the most time and cost efficient method of notification. These provisions are far less costly and onerous than the notification provisions included in a version of SEPA that was introduced in the House and Senate last Congress (S 1716, HR 3275) and than the SEPA bill introduced in the House this year (HR 111).
2. Contracting Out Pest Control Services
During negotiations over the amendment, the industry coalition took great pains to ensure that the School Environment Protection Act (SEPA) did not encourage or deter school districts from performing pest management in-house or contracting out such services. As such, we do not believe that SEPA would have any impact on choices made by school districts about whether or not to contract out their pest management services and fully expect districts to continue their current pest management preferences, regardless of whether they contract out or do it in-house.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
3. Risk Statement
The risk statement required in the universal notification letter to parents clearly states that EPA registers pesticides to determine that there are no unreasonable risks associated with their use. It informs parents that pesticides are tested under the Food Quality Protection Act to ensure they are safe for use around infants and children. The risk statement required in the letter does not contain any information that is factually incorrect. In addition, the amendment requires that parents also be informed of the pest threats students face in schools, such as cockroaches, tick, rats, mice, stinging insects, and poison ivy.
Further, although the information provided to parents on the registry before each application does discuss the possible acute and chronic effects associated with the product, the only information that may be disseminated comes from the product's material safety data sheet for the end-use dilution of the pesticide, or its MSDS if that is not available, and any final, official EPA documents or fact sheets. These are publicly available documents.
Finally, it is important to note that SEPA was a carefully crafted compromise agreement. We support SEPA as approved by the Senate. We support a uniform outline for the contents of notification to parents, which is preferable to having different contents of letters mailed in each state or school district. Without a uniform requirement, many states or school districts would likely send more alarmist, and non-fact-based notifications to parents.
Statement of National Association of Agricultural Educators
Chairman Goodlatte, and Honorable Members of the Subcommittee:
Thank you for the opportunity to submit this testimony on behalf of our Nation's school-based agriculture teachers. I am Paul Jaure. I teach agriscience at A.C. Jones High School in Beeville, Texas. This year, I am serving as president of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). The NAAE office is located in Alexandria, Virginia. Also with me is Dr. Wm. Jay Jackman, who is the executive director of NAAE. If the need arises, and with your permission, I might call on Dr. Jackman to assist with your questions following my statement.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In this testimony, I will provide general information regarding school-based agricultural education throughout the United States. I am confident that most of you are aware of agricultural education programs in local schools; however, I want to make sure all of you understand the importance of what and how we teach students.
Then, I want to ensure the distinguished Members of the subcommittee that agriculture teachers throughout the United States support safe and proper handling and use of pesticides in public places, including within schools. Yet, I want to share the concerns we have about the language proposed in Senator Torricelli's amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act regarding the use of pesticides in schools.
Background on Agricultural Education in Public Schools. It is estimated that by the year 2030, the population of the world will be approximately 8.5 billion people. The food supply must be tripled in the next 20 years to feed the people of the world. How can we address this phenomenal challenge? School-based agricultural education is an important part of the answer to these questions. School-based agricultural education programs are focused on educating the people who will assume the responsibility for production, processing, marketing, distribution, and ensuring safety of the food and fiber for the Earth's growing population.
Agricultural education is an important component of public school instruction in every state of the United States and in five United States Territories. There are approximately 750,000 agricultural education students in the Nation who are taught by about 12,000 secondary and 2-year postsecondary teachers. It is estimated that the contact hours of in-school instruction in and about agriculture exceed 10 million annually.
Comments on How We Teach. School-based agricultural education in the United States consists of three closely related activities. These three activities are: 1) classroom/laboratory instruction; 2) supervised agricultural experience; and 3) leadership development. The interaction effects of these three components help to ensure students' career success or continuation with higher education related to agriscience and/or agribusiness following high school graduation. No single one of the activities stands alone. The success of each local agricultural education program depends on the extent to which these three activities are incorporated into the educational program.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Classroom and Laboratory Instruction. Organized instruction is the classroom and laboratory component of agricultural education. This instruction may be carried out in a classroom, laboratory, greenhouse, or field trip setting. Classroom and laboratory instruction includes units based on natural and social sciences such as environmental science, agribusiness, natural resources, aquaculture, animal and plant sciences, entrepreneurship, and many other areas. Emphasis is placed on teaching/learning science, mathematics, and language arts principles in the context of the applied food and agricultural sciences.
Supervised Agricultural Experience. Supervised agricultural experience (SAE) is the individual student application, outside the classroom, of knowledge and skills acquired through the instructional component. SAE is under the supervision of the agriculture teacher, and an employer or parents. There are various categories of SAE from which students may choose. A student with an ownership SAE activity owns and manages his/her own business. A student participating in a placement SAE activity is involved in an employment situation. Research SAE activities allow students opportunities to engage in independent, yet supervised, research projects. The interaction of the student, teacher, business site, and parents helps to ensure instruction is relevant to each individual student in his/her own learning environment. This model may sound a little like School to Careerone of the prominent educational trends in the United States. The fact is, agricultural education is The Original School to Career model!
Leadership Development. Leadership development, the third component of the overall agricultural education program, is provided via student organizations such as FFA, PAS (Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization) and NYFEA (National Young Farmer Education Association). Student organization activities are designed to enrich the classroom/laboratory and SAE instructional components. Student organization activities provide students opportunities for personal growth, leadership development, and motivation for individual career success.
Comments on What We Teach. The curriculum in school-based agricultural education programs has changed a great deal over the years. When agricultural education programs began nine decades ago, the focus was on training boys to become farmers. Today, the focus is on: 1) enhancing students' skills in science, mathematics, and language arts using the applied context of agriculture and 2) preparing students for the full range of career opportunities related to the agriculture industry and for higher education in agriculture and related sciences.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Content included in agriculture education programs across the Nation includes traditional areas such as animal science, plant science, agricultural mechanics, and agricultural business management. But, it also includes non-traditional areas such as greenhouse management, horticulture, floriculture, aquaculture, environmental science, turf and landscape management, biotechnology, natural resources management, and a broad range of other agriscience and agribusiness areas.
Pesticide Use in School-based Agricultural Education Programs. Since pesticides are useful and necessary tools used in the agriculture industry, pesticides are used in school-based agricultural education programs. Please keep in mind that agricultural education programs focus on classroom and laboratory instruction. The agriscience and agribusiness concepts that are taught in the classroom are put into practice in the laboratory. Hands-on, applied, practical learning is at the very core of agricultural education.
The agricultural education laboratory setting comes in many types and descriptions. For examples, laboratories may include aquaculture facilities located inside the school building, greenhouses located adjacent to the school building, farms, livestock facilities, natural resources centers, arboreta, and/or gardens located on the school property, and many other possibilities.
When pesticide use is a common practice related to the content being taught (greenhouse management for example), proper and safe use and handling of pesticides is taught as part of the classroom instructional program. Integrated pest management (IPM) is also taught in the classroom, given that IPM is practiced regularly throughout the industry. Then, that classroom instruction is put into practice in the laboratory (in the greenhouse for example). In many cases, state laws require that agriculture teachers who are using pesticides in their instructional programs be Certified Pesticide Applicators. Even when not required by state law, many agriculture teachers seek and achieve certified pesticide applicator status. Similarly, in many cases, whether or not required by state law, students who are going to be involved in pesticide application in the laboratory settings complete all of the requirements to become certified pesticide applicators. These state-mandated or voluntary practices help to ensure that pesticide use in agricultural education settings is safe for all persons involved.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Further, we know that not every student who completes the agricultural education instructional program will seek employment or pursue higher education in some area related to agriculture. But, we also know that every student that comes through an agricultural education program is going to be an owner or renter of a home and a member of a community. Insect, weed, rodent and other pests are present in apartments, houses, offices, communities and cities. Persons who have had the benefits of high-quality agricultural education instruction are going to be better informed citizens on issues including the proper and safe use and handling of pesticidespesticides that anyone can go to the farm supply store, hardware store, even grocery store to purchase and use in their homes, offices, and throughout their communities. Agricultural education students learn how to select and use these products safely and effectively. We believe the risk associated with reducing or eliminating any education regarding the proper and safe use and handling of pesticides is too great.
Specific Challenges Presented by Senator Torricelli's Amendment to S. 1. Please allow us to be very clear that whether mandated by local, state or Federal laws, or whether on a voluntary basis, agricultural educators are committed to using pesticides safely and effectively in our instructional programs. We are committed to teaching our students to use pesticides safely and effectively. We are committed to using and teaching Integrated Pest Management to its fullest extent to control agricultural pests, protect and conserve the environment, and ensure public safety.
However, we do have concerns about Senator Torricelli's amendment to S. 1, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We are concerned that this Federal unfunded mandate could be detrimental to agricultural education programs across the Nation. In some cases where state laws have been implemented regarding pesticide use in schools, there have already been substantial problems for agricultural education programs. In some cases, agriculture teachers have been forced to eliminate the use of pesticides in their instructional programs completely, not because of potential health risks to students or school staff, but because of the potential for legal actions against them if they use pesticideseven when the pesticides are used properly and safely according to the manufacturers recommendations and other regulations imposed.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Such results from the laws cause the instructional programs to not reflect the actual industry practices and standards. Thus, the effectiveness of the instruction is reduced. How can agriculture teachers adequately prepare their students for careers, and higher education, in areas related to agriculture when they cannot teach common practices in their classrooms and laboratories?
Following is a discussion of the specific concerns we have with Senator Torricelli's amendment to S. 1.
Contact Person. The amendment calls for a contact person to be identified in each local education agency. The contact person must be a qualified person, perhaps a certified pesticide applicator. Especially in poorly funded, rural school districts there is a strong risk that the agriculture teacher, who may already be a certified pesticide applicator, could be burden with this additional responsibility. The role of the agriculture teacher is already complete with classroom and laboratory instruction activities, supervision of each student's agricultural experience program (which often involves home or workplace visits after school hours), and FFA chapter advisement responsibilities (which occur both during and after school hours). What part of the agricultural education program will suffer if the agriculture teacher is now burdened additionally with school pesticide use contact person duties?
Notification Requirements. We are grateful for the provision in Senator Torricelli's amendment that excludes the 24-hour notification requirement for pesticide applications that are a part of the agricultural education instructional program as long as the pesticide products used are included in a universal notification at the beginning of the school year.
Yet, preparing this list of products that the agriculture teacher anticipates using throughout the year will be extensive. This requirement will be a substantial burden on the agriculture teacher. In addition, if the teacher determines the need to use a pesticide during the year that is not included in the notification provided at the beginning of the school year, the agriculture teacher will be responsible for the 24-hour prior notice to the persons listed on the registry. Again, this will be an additional burden on the agriculture teacher.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Please bear in mind that the agriculture teacher, often times a certified pesticide applicator, would be using the pesticides in accordance with all of the safety rules and regulations of the pesticide manufacturer and other regulatory agencies. We question why more Federal regulations regarding pesticide use are needed.
Emergencies. There are provisions in the amendment that address emergencies. The definition in the amendment addresses threats to the health and safety of students and staff members. We assume this language implies that an emergency condition would exist only in the case of stinging or biting insect pests that present health risks to persons. We believe there could be a need for emergency applications of pesticides in agricultural education laboratories. Such emergencies would not endanger humans; rather, such emergencies would endanger the health of the living plant or animal materials used in the laboratories. To do anything but respond immediately to these emergencies would be poor teaching and could lead to catastrophic results in the laboratories. Therefore, we request the definition of emergencies to be expanded to include components of agricultural education instructional programs.
Potential for Legal Actions Against the School and the Agriculture Teacher
There are numerous concerns regarding the language in the amendment that give rise to the potential for law suits to be filed against the school districts and the teachers. First, the risk language is scary. It is certainly true that overexposure to some chemicals is harmful to humans, especially pregnant women, infants and children. But, is there any evidence that suggests that children and adults are at any greater health risk from overexposure to pesticides at school than at any other location? To present this language to parents, guardians and school staff seems to be inviting undue concern and potential legal actions.
Emergency application of pesticides, with notification after the fact, also could present interesting legal consequences.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Further, if the risks of pesticide application in schools are so great, will parents/guardians expect their children to be offered excused absences from school following pesticide applications?
Increased Costs to Agricultural Education Programs. Currently, we are experiencing a nationwide shortage of agriculture teachers. Adding these additional requirements to the agriculture teachers' responsibilities may make the teaching profession less appealing to some, thereby making the teacher shortage problem even worse. We believe agriculture teachers are doing a great job of using pesticides in their instructional programs safely and effectively and we believe the teachers are teaching their students to use the products safely as well, which has a positive result when the students become home owners and citizens within communities. We do not believe that additional regulations on pesticide use in agricultural education programs will advance agricultural education.
Further, will school administrators be in a position to continue agricultural education programs and start new agricultural education programs if the risk of potential legal actions and additional reporting/notification requirements are imposed? We fear that such additional regulations could be detrimental to the future of school-based agricultural education.
Agriculture teachers nationwide believe strongly in keeping both children and adults safe from misuse and overexposure to pesticides. Yet, we recognize that pesticides are a necessary and beneficial component of the agriculture industryfrom the farm/ranch to the consumer. For agricultural education to be effective, we must not be hindered from properly and safely using pesticides in our in-door and out-door laboratories. And, we must not be hindered from teaching our students the proper and safe use and handling of pesticides. To do otherwise would be harmful to the agriculture industry and hazardous to human health, given that pesticides are used everyday by citizens in their homes and workplaces. Please allow us to teach students to use pesticides properly, which will result in successful agriculture enterprises and safe human health.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We request that the United States Congress not take any actions that will prevent agriculture teachers from teaching students to be responsible workers within the agriculture industry, well-informed members of communities, and effective stewards of our environment. Please allow agriculture teachers to continue to teach proper use of pesticides, which will, in fact, benefit the health and well being of humankind.
July 30, 2001
REPRESENTATIVE BOB GOODLATTE, Chairman
Subcommittee on Dept. Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry
Committee on Agriculture
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
DEAR REPRESENTATIVE GOODLATTE:
Thank you so much for the time you have given our association in front of the committee in reference to Senate Amendment 805 to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization. The School Environment Protection Act of 2001 would have an adverse impact on our nation's schools. We would like to take this opportunity to answer the questions that were submitted to us.
We have heard one conservative cost estimate for this provision that could exceed $350,000. How many textbooks would this purchase for our school children?
Each year the Fulton County School District develops and votes on a multi-million dollar budget that encompasses everything from teacher salaries to ground maintenance. They serve over 71,000 students in their school district. There are never enough resources to spend on everything a district hopes to provide for students. The $350,000 estimate that you have provided is an estimate of how much this provision would cost, based on the amount of staff time, notification costs, and extraneous cost born by the district for temporary relocation of students during mandatory evacuation from emergency pesticide application.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is important to state that the estimated cost of this provision will vary greatly depending on the size and makeup of the individual school district. For instance, the Fulton County School District is an urban/ suburban district with a large student and staff population. Their notification costs would be much higher than a small rural school. However, with a larger central office and more personnel resources, the strain on staff time would not be as drastic as that same rural school that has no buildings and ground coordinator and only one central office assistant to help with the notification process. In many of those rural districts, the superintendent himself/ herself often serves another role in the school such as a teacher or even a bus driver.
Currently, the average textbook ranges from $55 to $80 depending on the grade level and type of textbook being purchased. Therefore with the $350,000 the district would have to divert to pay for this new mandate, they could have purchased anywhere from 4,000 to more than 6,000 new textbooks for their students.
How many teachers could be funded with $350,000?
The average salary for a teacher in our school district is approximately $40,000. Therefore, based on my answer above, the $350,000 estimate you provide would allow the Fulton County School District to hire approximately 8 new teachers. This would aid in the reduction of class size, which has been proven effective in increasing student performance.
However, to be accurate, we must state that the expense of this new mandate is not comparable to what the school district could buy if there was that much new money. Instead, that $350,000 would have to be deducted from current expenditures. So, a more accurate question would be what would a district have to cut out of their budget in order to pay for these new pesticide requirements?
How many students would be forced to sit in overcrowded classrooms if your school district were required to divert precious resources to comply with this paperwork burden?
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This gets to the heart of the matter. The real question lies in this provision's effect on a school district's budget. Compared to a multi-billion dollar district budget, $350,000 can look like only a small piece of the larger picture. Whenever a budget is affected, even in the slightest manner, it throws off the delicate balance within the school district. It causes the budget to tighten and therefore clamp down on spending in other programs. In the case of your question, while the change would not be drastic at first, there would gradually be an increase in class size. A ten section first grade that has 26 students in each section could easily rise to 27 or 28 students per section in one year if new teachers could not be hired to deal with the influx of students.
Kids are at the core of the school district's budget. Any strain on that budget threatens a district's ultimate goal, to provide a fair and equal education to all children.
As a member of the Agriculture committee, I have great concern for the impact that the burdens imposed by this legislation may have on schools in rural areas. Can you explain the differences in financial resources that might exist across your state?
Although no one likes to admit it, there is a clear demarcation between the funding of suburban, urban and rural schools. Many times it is due to the under-representation of free and reduced lunch counts and others times it is a product of their location and lack of tax revenue. While prescriptive legislation, such as this amendment, would certainly carry a fiscal impact, it is more important to look at the administrative impact it would have on the overall school.
Rural districts often lack central office personnel. The superintendent usually serves many roles. The spectrum of those roles depends on the individual district but can range from curriculum director to teacher to the building and grounds manager. They often lack clerical assistance or time to compete for Federal grant monies. It is this group of schools that will bear the burden of the mandates given in Senate amendment 805. It will be not only difficult to follow through on the time deadlines for notification, but difficult to find someone to be the contact person within the school who is not already filling more job positions then he or she is able.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These new requirements would become another layer of bureaucracy with all of the new paperwork. It would siphon away time that should be spent on instruction of students. We need to do everything possible to maintain the focus on children in our schools.
It is my understanding that some states have had challenges implementing their pest management plans. Are you aware of any such circumstances that you could share with us?
We are not aware of any at the current moment. The reality is that most school districts are already participating in some form of integrated pest management system. Some of these systems are developed by the LEAs in accordance with the states and some are developed on their own. Either way, most districts are taking the necessary precautionary steps to ensure safety in their schools when using pesticides. We would hate to see another un-funded mandate being handed down to schools to accomplish something that they are already doing.
I hope that the information provided clearly delineates the problems that would be caused if Senate Amendment 805 should be adopted by the HR 1 conferees. Thank you for the opportunity to respond to you questions. If there is any more information that I could provide, please do not hesitate to contact me as you work to ensure a conference report that will focus on the education of America's children.
Statement of Marshall W. Trammell, Jr.
I am Marshall W. Trammell, Jr., and I am testifying on behalf of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) in my capacity as chairman of the Chesterfield County School Board. The National School Boards Association represents the nation's 95,000 elected and appointed school board members, who in turn are responsible for governing America's public school systems.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Professionally, as the program coordinator for the Certification, Licensing, Registration, and Training section for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Pesticide Services, I am responsible for the training, testing, certification, and regulation of more than 20,000 pesticide applicators in Virginia. Virginia's regulatory approach is to recognize that the 10,000 plus pesticides registered in Virginia each year have the potential for both good and bad. As such, in cooperation with US EPA, we use existing Federal label requirements in concert with education outreach to implement a voluntary integrated pest management (IPM) program in Virginia schools. Our approach allows each school division to implement a plan that meets their needs while not burdening them with unnecessary reporting procedures. Since the ''label is the law,'' violations are dealt with in a straightforward manner. More importantly, our approach recognizes that all pesticides, both general use and those considered more dangerous or ''restricted use,'' have the potential for harm if used improperly. Therefore, we focus our resources on education, training, and demonstration to mitigate pesticide exposure to staff, children and parents rather than on a paper-intensive regulatory program. Virginia's law already requires that anyone applying any type of pesticide in a school setting be trained, tested and certified first. Requiring a legally prescriptive IPM approach does not buy us additional compliance or protection.
Chesterfield County is a relatively large suburban school system located in the Richmond, Virginia, metropolitan area. In Chesterfield, we serve more than 51,000 students and operate 59 schools. Our budget for the upcoming school year is more than $377 million and we employ 6,852 staff. We enjoy a reputation of academic excellence. By national and state measures, we are credited with offering our families and businesses quality public education. As one example, I will note that both the Chesterfield County local government and the schools have been awarded the Senate Productivity and Quality Award.
The Pesticide Management Provision Is an Administrative Burden for Local School Districts
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMy point with this brief description of Chesterfield is that when I tell you the pesticide management provisions of the amendment are a burden for Chesterfield, you can be confident that these provisions present a burden for other local education agencies. By ''burden'' I do not mean we are not concerned about the safety of our children and staff. Their safety is not the burden; the unnecessary paperwork and oversight required by these provisions is however a real burden for local education agencies in terms of time and costs.
Small School Districts Would Have Many Problems with Trying To Comply with the Provision
Chesterfield County is just one of the nearly 15,000 school districts across the country that would have to comply with the provisions of the amendment. Many of these school districts are small and the prescriptive administrative requirements of the amendment would create an unworkable system. To illustrate this point, there are school districts in Maine that are so small that the superintendent may oversee several districts. Because of limited existing administrative staff, these small districts would face additional difficulties with the cost of implementing this proposal because they do not have an existing administrative structure able to take on new duties in the central office. Certainly these districts would be overwhelmed by the requirement that each local education agency have a contact person who is knowledgeable about school pest management plans to carry out the implementation of a school pest management plan in schools. This contact person's duties include maintaining information about scheduling of pesticide applications in each school, disseminating information, maintaining material safety data sheets and labels, and maintaining all pesticide use data for at least three years after the pesticide is applied.
Chesterfield County Would Need To Hire Additional Staff To Comply with the Provision
But the administrative burdens would not just be felt by the smallest school districts. If this provision was enacted into law, Chesterfield County would need to hire additional staff centrally, both clerical and technical, to ensure 59 individual school plans were in place and up to date. Additional clerical support would be needed in each of our schools to ensure that all the registry information was maintained and that notifications were given at a minimum of three times per year to all 51,000 students and 6,800+ employees as required by the legislation. The mobility of families in this high growth community presents even greater complications for registry and notification.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC School Districts Could Be Exposed to Increased Liabilities
Any inadvertent violations of the cumbersome guidelines such as notification deadlines, could expose schools to increased liabilities. In fact, the logistics of maintaining the required information and the potential for liability would require Chesterfield Public Schools to develop automated tracking and record-keeping systems in order to comply with the requirements of this bill. As a result, local school districts could expend time and funds defending these claims. School district budgets are already stretched too far and unnecessary litigation results in less money being spent on educating our nation's students.
Chesterfield Public Schools employs one full-time pesticide worker, and an environmental engineer provides oversight for the program. Current personnel costs amount to approximately $150,000 per year. Our staff is frequently called upon to consult with smaller school systems that lack this professional expertise, and we are glad to provide this service to them at no cost. However, if the paperwork requirements of these provisions are enacted into law, we could no longer assist other school systems. And it would appear that we would open the door to increased liability for our own school district if we did.
It Is Doubtful That School Districts Would Receive Sufficient Funds To Implement the Provision
The financial implications of this amendment also deserve scrutiny. The provision calls for ''such sums as necessary'' but it is unlikely that school districts will receive an amount approaching adequate funding for this provision. Therefore it would create a grossly under-funded mandate. NSBA opposes unfunded mandates imposed by Federal laws and regulations and believes that all school-based education programs should be fully funded.
The Chesterfield County School Board's environmental engineer and budget office compiled a rough estimate regarding the annual costs to implement a federally mandated program such as the pesticide amendment that was included in the Senate-passed version of ESEA. We believe that a conservative estimate for this provision would be approximately $350,000 to $450,000 per year for Chesterfield County alone. The resources that must be allocated to comply with paper notification and documentation requirements are significant. Given the scarce resources and growing demands placed on our public schools, the provisions of this bill are detrimental to our primary mission of educating all our students to high academic standards. The funds necessary to comply with this bill will come from teacher raises, smaller classes, and other student services.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Legislation May Raise Concerns over the Use of Pesticides Where Not Warranted
Another concern with the legislation is that it has the potential for raising concerns over the use of pesticides where not warranted. For instance, the legislation establishes reentry times for pesticide use when the label on the pesticide does not require one. Specifically, if there is no period specified on the label of the pesticide during which a treated area or room should remain unoccupied, the proposal states that there be a 24-hour waiting period. This suggests to parents, students, and staff that there is a sensitivity to chemical compounds when in fact, none may exist. And if sensitivity to chemical compounds does exist, should the parents of the nation's five million private school students also receive the same information as parents of public school students? Should not all parents receive the information when any grounds on which little leagues, soccer leagues, and other sports and recreational activities occur for hours each week? Similarly the question can be asked whether providers of off-site services for public education students such as those that would be funded by Federal after-school programs should also be subject to these reporting requirements?
The Legislation Establishes Unrealistic Timeframes
Other timetables established in the legislation are not realistic. Within a year of receiving a copy of the school pest management plan from the state agency, the local educational agency must develop and implement in each of its schools a school pest management plan that meets the standards and requirements set forth by the state plan and approved by the EPA. It would take a long time to develop plans with more than 100 different school divisions within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Additionally, the proposal would change the dynamics of how schools get their instructions since State Lead Agencies (SLAs) that are responsible for regulation of pesticide use in their states would be the communicator with local schools. Currently, State Departments of Education are the main link. Potentially, the amendment would lead to increased investigations on the part of SLAs, such as the one for which I work, with potential monetary civil penalties assessed against schools.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chesterfield County Currently Has a School Pesticide Management Plan and Does Not Need Additional Federal Mandates
Now that I have described the new administrative requirements, lack of funding, and possible liability issues that the new legislation would impose on localities, I would like to tell you what Chesterfield Public Schools are already doing with respect to pesticide use. Currently, Chesterfield Public Schools uses an integrated pest management approach that has been developed and recommended to local school systems in a cooperative effort by the Virginia Pesticide Control Board, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service and Virginia Tech. Where feasible, we rely more on the use of baits and environmental controls; we do not apply pesticides when students or staff are in our buildings; we provide notice. In other words, we do that which is necessary to ensure the safety of children and adults and we do not need additional Federal mandates to make us do so.
This Legislation Provides a One-Size-Fits-All Solution to an Issue That Should Merit Some Flexibility for Local School Districts
Local education agencies are taking the appropriate steps, with the support and guidance of state agencies, to protect our children. The pesticide amendment that was added to the Senate Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is counter to a reauthorization process that called for increased flexibility for local school districts. If in fact the science suggests that schools and facilities serving children need to do more in this area, formal dialogues including hearings like the one today, should occur to identify the problems and solutions that can remedy the problem in a sensible and cost efficient manner. Unfortunately, this provision, was developed without the benefit of formal hearings, and therefore provides a one-size-fits-all solution to an issue that should merit some flexibility for local school districts.
I appreciate the opportunity to testify and I am happy to answer any questions.
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Statement of George Wichterman
I am George Wichterman, chairman of the Legislative and Regulatory Committee for the American Mosquito Control Association, and Senior Entomologist with the Lee County Mosquito District in Florida. I am also a member of the Committee to Advise on Reassessment and Transition(CARAT) representing local government and a member of the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) for the American Mosquito Control Association.
I would like to thank Chairman Goodlatte for his leadership in holding this important hearing regarding the amendment offered by Senator Toricelli to Senate 1, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, to require local educational agencies and schools to implement school pest management plans to provide parents, guardians and staff members with notice of the use of pesticides in schools.
The American Mosquito Control Association is a non-profit international association involved in supporting mosquito and other vector control. Our mission is to provide leadership, information, and education leading to enhancement of health, and quality of life through the suppression of mosquitos and other vector transmitted diseases.
As a member of the public health community, I want to advise that there are concerns with certain provisions in this amendment. The American Mosquito Control Association was not asked to participate in the development of the ''School Environment Protection Act of 2001.'' Because of this oversight, as the amendment is currently structured, the public health community will be unable to effectively control mosquito populations, which is necessary to prevent human diseases (West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis) and reduce human discomfort or injury in and around our nations public schools.
IMPORTANCE OF SURVEILLANCE PRIOR TO APPLICATION
Currently, over 900 publicly sanctioned mosquito control districts perform mosquito and other vector control across the nation. Each of these mosquito control districts conducts an appropriate surveillance program which would be applicable to their area, e.g. based on climate, coastal tides, number of different mosquito species, etc. No matter where an individual mosquito control district maybe situated, it is incumbent upon each of them to determine whether they in fact have a mosquito infestation which may be directly related to mosquito larvae in standing water or emerging adults. Surveillance provides other clues which are necessary to be established prior to any application of a pesticide.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For the purposes of this testimony, I shall provide the members of this subcommittee with what we do in the State of Florida, specifically, the Lee County Mosquito Control District, Fort Myers, Florida. Both medical entomologists and mosquito control professionals alike agree with the following premise: Because one has an effective mosquito control program, involving surveillance, it would follow the number of public health disease vectors will be limited. To that end with the State of Florida having identified 74 different species of mosquitos and Lee County, Florida, being resident to 47 of the total, surveillance is tantamount to an effective mosquito control program. As you might presuppose, mosquito breeding habitats will be different, as well, e.g. salt marshes, freshwater flooded forested areas, tires, other artificial containers, residential roadside swales, etc. As a result time-tested surveillance mechanisms have been developed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States Department of Agriculture ( USDA), universities, and mosquito control districts to locate and determine whether a mosquito infestation may exist. The very surveillance location of choice not only to Lee County, but also the Nation as whole include public school grounds and/or properties controlled by a school district. One of the most vulnerable segments of our population include our children.
The Lee County Mosquito Control District utilizes multiple surveillance techniques, combined with entomological inspections in an around public school property, for the collection of mosquitos. Multiple analytical determinations for the detection of arbovirus compliment this comprehensive program. The aforesaid requires the multiple approaches due to habitat variation among the species of mosquitos; thereby, necessitating laboratory analyses for the different virus types which are species specific and endemic to Lee County. This involves the use of a tree-mounted trap, complete with a light and fan motor designed to attract and direct mosquitos to a collection bag/CDC Light Trap. Additionally a bait (CO2) used as an attractant is suspended next to the trap. Once the collection has been analyzed for female Culex mosquitos and numbers in excess of 500 are identified; adulticiding may be warranted upon further inspection in areas surrounding school property.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Analytical determinations will be performed on adult Culex mosquitos by testing for viral antigens present. Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) with electrophoresis performed by CDC trained district personnel are able to provide officials with current information regarding potential viral activity. Triggers for further entomological inspections will be called for upon the detection of a single viral antigen present. With this type of testing we are capable of detecting Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) St Louis Encephalitis (SLE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). As an added safeguard, aliquots are taken from the district's samples and sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Vector Borne Infectious Diseases at Fort Collins, Colorado for confirmation.
Continuing on with the surveillance discussion the Lee County Mosquito Control District (LCMCD) employs the use of the gravid trap. Currently this type of trapping is performed on an annual basis concurrent with the CDC light trap program. Another phase of the mosquitos complete metamorphosis will be studied by this sampling techniquethe mosquito egg. The primary attractant for this trap is a bucket of standing water; whereby, gravid adult Culex mosquitos are drawn into a collection device within the trap and later studied. If eggs have been noted on the water's surface it would follow that these adults will be in search of another blood meal; thus potentially capable of virus transmission. Subsequently adults are studied in the laboratory to determine fecundity. Henceforth, because adult mosquitos in this genus must have a blood meal, a requisite for oviposition, the object of the gravid trap is to catch mosquitos that have already had a blood meal. It is during this life stage that virus activity may be ongoing, and thereby provide a heads-up for us to observe through other surveillance techniques arboviral activity.
The remaining portion of this discussion will include the sentinel chicken program and the truck trap adult floodwater mosquito collection device. Serological studies are undertaken on a half-dozen male chickens for the detection of SLE, EEE, WNV, on a biweekly basis. Both hemagglutination and hemagglutination inhibition tests (HA-HI) are performed on the collected blood samples. These HA-HI tests determine the presence of viral antibodies for each of the aforementioned viruses. Again triggers for further entomological inspections may be warranted with only one chicken sero-converting within the flock. Of the seventeen different locations providing this information throughout Lee County, six locations are actually situated on school grounds with the remaining located within a mile of school property.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The truck trap is a non-selective sampling device which consists of a truck-mounted funnel shaped screen enclosure with a collection bag affixed to the trailing end of the opening. Over 50% of the 43 different locations for this type of collection are located within 1 mile of public school property. Each trapping location consists of a three-mile run on the hard surfaced roads throughout Lee County. At the beginning and end of each three-mile run resides a rain gauge station monitoring rainfall on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week between May and October. This information collected daily provides the district with an accurate measurement of adult mosquito activity and potential mosquito breeding throughout Lee County. During the mosquito season rainfall amounts in excess of 0.8 inches per evening require the entomological inspection; whereby, an individual will inspect by ground and/or by air areas of standing water. Water samples containing 2 to 3 mosquito larvae and/or pupae per sample throughout the affected area will trigger a larvicide application. Throughout these inspections our personnel are observing for adult emergence. Critically important to any credible surveillance program involves the human contact with potential mosquito breeding locations. From this point emanates what other types of activity may be required to control juvenile and adult mosquitos.
The entire point of this aforesaid discussion on a comprehensive surveillance program demonstrates the importance that mosquito control districts place upon the determination of a potential mosquito infestation and the subsequent laboratory analysis for human disease around our nations public schools.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO MOSQUITO CONTROL
Specifically, there are several requirements in this amendment that need to be reconsidered. These relate to notification, reentry and authorization of funds. One such requirement involves the ''Notification to Persons on Registry.'' It stipulates that ''Notice of an upcoming pesticide application at a school shall be provided to each person on the registry of the school not later than 24 hours before the end of the last business day during which the school is in session that preceded the day on which the application is to be made and (II) the application of a pesticide for which notice is given under subclause (I) shall not commence before the end of the business day.''
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For example, if on Monday morning a mosquito control district located the presence of a mosquito infestation on or around any property that is controlled, managed, or owned by the school or school district, under the notification process, the district would be unable to treat until the following Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, inclement weather often prevails later in the afternoon including the early evening hours, thus precluding treatment of standing water. Further, helicopters applying the pesticide could not safely fly at low altitude levels during the night time hours, as well as there being increased difficulty for the pilot being able to see the area requiring treatment. Under such circumstance, mosquitos in the aquatic stage could emerge into flying adults and/or localized adult infestations could migrate into other populated areas. This would require more pesticide applications over a wider area and more frequently. Another example on how this notification process would preclude treatment up to 4 days later would be as follows: if a mosquito infestation is located on or around any other property that is controlled, managed or owned by the school or school district, whether it be in standing water and/or flying adults on Saturday morning, then it would follow through the notification process, that we would be unable to treat until the following Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning prior to the school day.
Another requirement mandated by this amendment involves post treatment reentry restrictions. It states that ''the period specified on the label of the pesticide during which a treated area or room should remain unoccupied; or if there is no period specified on the label, the 24-hour period beginning at the end of the treatment.''
POST TREATMENT REENTRY REQUIREMENTS
What this means to mosquito control: The time frame of the proposed notification, treatment and reentry rules are for household and structural pests but are not based on the biology of the mosquito. The governmental mosquito control agencies already have rules for advanced notification, involvement of the public and elected officials and apply materials approved for community wide use.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Because none of our currently EPA labeled public health pesticides requires a post treatment reentry time, then, in keeping with the amendment addressing the first example,whatever time the pesticide application was made on Wednesday, individuals at the affected school would not be allowed to reenter the treated school until 24 hours after the treatment. In another words, the school personnel and children could not occupy these areas until sometime on Thursday.
With West Nile Virus already being confirmed in the State of Florida, public health officials would be severely hampered in containing outbreaks of the virus and other virusfollowing the protocol in this amendment. As a matter of record CDC has already confirmed the presence of this virus in the following 12 states ( New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina), including the District of Columbia.
The remaining requirement in this amendment addresses the ''Authorization of Appropriations'' that states ''there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this section.'' It is clear the notification, registry, posting and enforcement requirements in the amendment will result in significant administrative costs for every school facility covered by the legislation. This amendment also places significant responsibilities on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to develop and implement plans relating to the use of pesticides on school property. Since no resources to administer this new program have, as of yet, been adopted as part of this measure, Florida's primary agency for pesticide enforcement and certification is concerned that the amendment, as currently worded, will adversely impact existing program functions and further complicate efforts to enforce other Federal pesticide requirements.
According to State of Florida officials' perspective it would also be appropriate to consider potential litigation costs given the likelihood tort claims will be brought against schools failing to fully comply with the ''school Environment Protection Act of 2001''.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From a pesticide state lead agency perspective, its reasonable to assume Florida will be expected to provide outreach support to the schools relative to implementation of the program and to investigate complaints and impose the regulatory remedies provided by law when violations are found. Back in 1994, a somewhat similar program was adopted by the EPA for the protection of agricultural workers handling pesticides or entering areas treated with pesticides. The regulation requires worker training, posting, and contains other right to know provisions similar to the School Environment Protection Act of 2001.
Because of existing funding and workload considerations Florida allocated about 14% of their enforcement program resources to this important, but under-funded effort. This has worked out to an annual cost of about $260,000 which pays for about 350 inspections/investigations and gets us a lot of criticism from various groups that we're not doing enough. Current Federal funding support for the regulation covers only about 16% of $260,000 ($41,600) the State spends.
Florida anticipates a similar result. Complaints alleging violations will be submitted with the expectation they be investigated and resolved. The schools will want assistance complying with the law, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have to decide if scarce resources needed for other programs should be allocated to work on yet another Federal programthat isif Congress doesn't provide the funding to do a credible job managing the program.
Based upon the American Mosquito Control Association's past experience with this type of language regarding the mere authorization of appropriations by Congress as opposed to an actual appropriation being made, there is a significant question regarding whether this is simply another unfunded mandate. In our experience, we have been trying unsuccessfully for five years to obtain appropriated funds as it relates to HHS implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act 1996, and the establishment of the Public Health Pesticide Data Collection Program under the Food Quality Protection Act (see attached letter to Dr. Richard J. Jackson).
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As an organization of over 2,000 public health professionals across the nation, the American Mosquito Control Association is dedicated to preserving and protecting the nation's public health. It is important that public health professionals are able to function in an effective manner in order that they may protect our people and nation, especially the most vulnerable segments of our populationour children and our senior citizens.
I again thank the subcommittee for holding this important public hearing and greatly appreciate the opportunity to be included in this process. I pledge our willingness to work with this subcommittee to promote, protect, and preserve the nation's public health.
HON. BOB GOODLATTE, Chairman
Subcommittee on Department Operations,
Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry
Committee on Agriculture
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN:
Thank you for your letter of July 13, 2001 requesting written comments for the record concerning Section 1033 of H.R. 1, as amended by the Senate (the No Child Left Behind Act). The Agency respectfully submits these comments to the subcommittee for the written record of the hearing held on July 18, 2001.
By way of background, this proposed legislation would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to require all states to develop school pesticide management plans, and all public schools to implement individual management plans developed by states. In the amendment, all public schools would also be required to develop a variety of communication materials that notify parents and post signs prior to pesticide application. Also EPA would be required to provide guidance to states, and then approve or disapprove State plans.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC EPA supports the principles of the amendment. Preventing unnecessary exposure to pesticides in schools is an essential part of providing safe and healthy environments for the Nation's children. However, we believe that current Federal authorities, which include a combination of rigorous scientific and regulatory review under the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), as well as voluntary partnerships to promote Integrated Pest Management in schools, are adequate to provide a safe school environment for children. The focus has been to learn what pest management plans work best at a state and local level and promote these techniques, realizing that local conditions demand tailored approaches.
As previously stated in a letter to Senator Richard G. Lugar on June 1, 2001, assuring child safety from pesticides is one of EPA's highest priorities. With authorities from FIFRA and more specifically FQPA, EPA reviews pesticides to ensure they meet today's stringent health standards with particular regard for the safety of infants and children. For food use pesticides, this review includes a thorough evaluation of the various sources of potential exposures (from food, residential use, drinking water, etc.), as well as the potential human toxicity of pesticide ingredients. Since infants and children may be more sensitive than adults to pesticide exposure, FQPA provides for an additional safety factor if necessary, to ensure that food tolerances are safe for infants and children. The potentially greater exposure and sensitivity of infants and children is explicitly taken into account in all these pesticide decisions. For non-food use pesticides, EPA also pays special attention to children's exposure and risk issues. In addition, applicator training and pesticide labeling are designed to assure that children and others are protected from unnecessary exposure. Given the protections provided by FQPA and FIFRA, implemented through our extensive review process, pesticides used in schools are being carefully evaluated to ensure they meet scientifically rigorous safety standards.
In addition to stringent regulatory review, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) can be an effective approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. Over the last several years, EPA has made great strides in promoting IPM in schools through voluntary mechanisms. Already, many communities in over 30 states have implemented IPM in various school systems. The Agency has established partnerships with states, schools, advocacy organizations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative Extensive Service, universities and pest management organizations, to promote the adoption of IPM in schools and share information on the various innovative approaches across the country.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you again for the opportunity to comment. Enclosed are some specific technical comments on Section 1033. The Agency stands ready to work further with Congress and others on this issue. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me, or have your staff contact Betsy Henry of the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at (202) 5647222. The Office of Management and Budget has advised us that the views presented in this letter are consistent with the President's program.
CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN
U.S. EPA TECHNICAL COMMENTS ON H.R. 1 SECTION 1033 AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE PEST MANAGEMENT IN SCHOOLS
Recognize resource constraints (Section 33(b)(1)(B)): Because a separate funding mechanism is not identified, as written, resources could be drawn from already over-taxed FIFRA Section 23 grants that support current state pesticide activities. EPA is concerned that the new requirements in the legislation could reduce critical resources that are now being dedicated to significant State priorities, including enforcement of pesticide label violations, protection of farm workers, and other key priorities. This legislation places significant new requirements on States and local education agencies, furthering resource burdens, without consideration of the State or local funding environment.
Time frame for implementation is too tight (Section 33(b)(1)(A)): EPA has concerns that 6 months is an unreasonably short time frame for developing final guidance for the States. EPA needs at least a year to develop quality guidance. The Agency uses the guidance development process as a time to buy-in the States, community members and other interests into the program. Full stakeholder consultation to develop guidance has more success than handing down directives without involvement. Our goal is to encourage and support the States' school pest management initiatives. This process of ensuring an open and rigorous public participation process takes time.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Promote adoption of School Pest Management Plans appropriate to local conditions (Section 33(b)(1)(A)(2)): At the national level, it would be most appropriate to provide examples of existing pest management programs to help states and local school districts develop their own plans. EPA does not think it helpful to require EPA to develop a national sample pest management plan. This would require new resources that would be more appropriately directed to the local level. These plans need to be developed by the local school district based on their unique circumstances, not the Federal Government.
Promote public awareness with proper risk communication information. (Section 33(b)(4)(B): Rather than detailing the exact documents to be made available to parents or kept on record by the school contact person, EPA suggests more flexibility to develop and use appropriate materials to inform the parents, teachers, and students. It is important that the information on pesticide risks and benefits made available to the public is informative and understandable. For instance, the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) cited as potential material to draw from is intended provide scientific background. In some cases, MSDS are not readily understandable by the general public.