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The Dangers of Schoolyards

The Dangers of Schoolyards

Recess: the highlight of most kids’ school day.  Few things capture the heart of the elementary school years as the riotous sounds of schoolchildren running around the playground – the yelps, the laughter, the shouts, the singsong rhymes.  And if they’re not living in a concrete jungle, the kids are enjoying themselves on a grassy field, with a swing set area, perhaps a sandbox area, and multiple jungle gyms.  Two thumbs way up for play time.  Two thumbs way down for many of the pesticides that are used to maintain these fields and their hazardous impact on young bodies.

Schoolyards and playing fields used for soccer, softball and the like, are commonly sprayed with a variety of pesticides to kill off insects, rodents, and weeds, and to keep these fields looking green and full.  Unfortunately, long-term exposure to these chemicals is associated with a number of different cancers, including non-Hodgkins lymphoma, brain cancer and leukemia.  In addition, according to the Centers for Disease Control, exposures to pesticides can result in more immediate troubles such as coughing, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and eye irritation.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that schools adopt an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy in order to control pests while reducing pesticide exposure and risks.  IPM reduce food, water and shelter for pests, effectively decreasing their presence on school grounds.  Additionally, implementing an organic lawn maintenance policy eliminates the use of highly toxic pesticides while making an attractive-enough looking field to grow.  Not only are both of these approaches to pest management healthier, they are actually more cost efficient than heavy pesticide usage.

Thanks to the efforts of concerned parents, some school districts are required to notify families before pesticides are being applied on school grounds, giving parents the option to keep their children home while the chemicals are still airborne.  If yours does not, it should, and you can bring this to the attention of other parents and your school board. Better yet is the implementation of the alternatives above, keeping school grounds fun, safe and healthy for students and staff alike.

To learn more about the School Environment Protection Act of 2009 (SEPA), visit

Read more: Children, Family, Healthy Schools, Lawns & Gardens, Natural Pest Control, Nature, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Terri Hall

Terri Hall lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. In addition to writing, Terri works with public television and radio stations/networks in the area of new media, and leads workshops on authentic and empowered living.


+ add your own
8:51AM PDT on Aug 10, 2010

Thank you

6:06AM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

Thanks for the info.

10:20PM PDT on May 20, 2010

most of the schools playgrounds are sand. maybe its became bad.
thanks for sharing the article.

10:15PM PDT on May 20, 2010

most of the schools playgrounds are sand. maybe its became bad.
thanks for sharing the article.

7:50PM PDT on May 20, 2010

Thanks for the posting.

2:48AM PDT on May 16, 2010

Thank you for this information.

9:27AM PDT on May 3, 2010

Thanks..for sharing this article.

10:56PM PDT on May 2, 2010

Maybe next the EPA can give the schools money for the organic lawn maintenance... yea right after we cut taxes... plus maybe they can buy more books too.........

Sad thing the schools are doing what they know.
With what they have.

6:51PM PDT on May 2, 2010

Pesticides are dangerous everywhere. They are poisons and cause many awful diseases.

8:06AM PDT on May 2, 2010

Thanks for all!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Not healthy. I'll pass ... Thanks.

I do think cats and dogs were designed to ear meat.

Keep it up; keep posting more n more n more.

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