GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
HOUSE BILL 1502
Committee Substitute Favorable 5/23/05
Short Title: Schoolchildren's Health Act.
April 21, 2005
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT to enact the schoolchildren's health act of 2005.
Whereas, when school is in session, children spend 30% to 50% of their time at school; and
Whereas, it is incumbent upon State government to address public health and environmental issues in the classroom and on school grounds in order to protect the health of school-age children; and
Whereas, inexpensive and easy measures can be taken to provide a healthier learning environment for our children, and, in some instances, these measures actually offer a school district cost savings; and
Whereas, on March 4, 2004, a stakeholders group consisting of the Department of Public Instruction, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, the Agricultural Resources Center, the North Carolina Parent Teacher's Association, the N.C. Pest Control Association, The North Carolina State School Boards Association, Inc., and other entities signed a memorandum of understanding establishing their support for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and creating a model school IPM policy; Now, therefore,
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. This act may be cited as the Schoolchildren's Health Act of 2005.
SECTION 2. The General Assembly makes the following findings:
(a) Arsenic-Treated Wood. -
(1) Effective 2004, arsenic-treated wood for residential uses has been removed from the marketplace under a voluntary agreement between the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the industry. Since this is a voluntary agreement, only a State ban will ensure that arsenic-treated wood is not used on school grounds in the future.
(2) Additionally, backstock arsenic-treated wood is still on the market in some places.
(3) A ban of CCA (chromated copper arsenate) treated wood for use in public schools is a reasonable safeguard measure.
(b) Mercury. -
(1) Mercury is a potent brain toxicant, and children, whose brains are still developing, are most vulnerable to its effects.
(2) Once introduced into the human body, mercury interferes with brain development and can lead to a number of developmental problems, including delayed language acquisition, impaired memory, and learning disabilities.
(c) Diesel Exhaust Fumes. -
(1) Because children's respiratory systems are still developing and they breathe more rapidly, children are more susceptible to air pollution than the average adult is.
(2) Diesel exhaust poses a particular risk to children, because it contains significant levels of small particles, known as fine particulate matter. This particulate matter is so fine that it can pass through the nose and throat and lodge in the lungs, possibly causing long-term adverse health effects.
(3) Particulate matter from diesel exhaust is associated with asthma and has been found to increase the risk of lung disease and heart disease. Additionally, it can bind to pollen in the air, further exacerbating allergies and asthma. Diesel exhaust is also known to contain several human carcinogens.
(4) School bus idling and bus queuing (nose-to-tail lineup of buses) dramatically increase the concentrations of detrimental particulate pollution inside school buses.
(d) Pesticides. -
(1) Because children's bodies are still developing, exposure to pesticides can have serious impacts on their long-term health.
(2) Schools may subject themselves to liability for immediate injuries to students, faculty, or other staff resulting from improper management of toxic chemicals such as pesticides.
(3) Schools can reduce or even eliminate the risks of pesticides by using simple, low-cost methods, such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
(4) With proper training, planning, and effective communication among affected parties, IPM can prevent pest problems, reduce the need for pesticide applications, and greatly improve the quality of the school environment.
(e) Mold and Mildew. -
(1) Mold and mildew problems occur in schools when moisture gets into the structure, thereby creating a friendly environment for excessive mold and mildew growth.
(2) Parents and school officials have become more aware of the health risks of mold, such as allergic reactions in children and adults, as the public has become more aware of the problems associated with certain molds.
SECTION 3. G.S. 115C-12 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:
"(33) Duty to Protect the Health of School-Age Children From Toxicants at School. - The State Board shall address public health and environmental issues in the classroom and on school grounds by doing all of the following:
a. Develop guidelines for sealing existing arsenic-treated wood in playground equipment or establish a time line for removing existing arsenic-treated wood on playgrounds and testing the soil on school grounds for contamination caused by the leaching of arsenic-treated wood in other areas where children may be at particularly high risk of exposure.
b. Establish guidelines to reduce students' exposure to diesel emissions that can occur as a result of unnecessary school bus idling, nose-to-tail parking, and inefficient route assignments.
c. Study methods for mold and mildew prevention and mitigation and incorporate recommendations into the public school facilities guidelines as needed.
d. Establish guidelines for Integrated Pest Management consistent with the policy of The North Carolina School Boards Association, Inc., as published in 2004. These guidelines may be updated as needed to reflect changes in technology.
e. Establish guidelines for notification of students' parents, guardians, or custodians as well as school staff of pesticide use on school grounds."
SECTION 4. G.S. 115C-47 is amended by adding four new subdivisions to read:
"(45) To Address the Use of Pesticides in Schools. - Local boards of education shall adopt policies that address the use of pesticides in schools. These policies shall:
a. Require the principal or the principal's designee to annually notify the students' parents, guardians, or custodians as well as school staff of the schedule of pesticide use on school property and their right to request notification. Such notification shall be made, to the extent possible, at least 72 hours in advance of nonscheduled pesticide use on school property. The notification requirements under this subdivision do not apply to the application of the following types of pesticide products: antimicrobial cleansers, disinfectants, self-contained baits and crack-and-crevice treatments, and any pesticide products classified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as belonging to the U.S.E.P.A. Toxicity Class IV, "relatively nontoxic" (no signal word required on the product's label). Nothing in this sub-subdivision shall be construed to create a private cause of action against any local board of education, its agents, or its employees.
b. Require the use of Integrated Pest Management. As used in this sub-subdivision, "Integrated Pest Management" or "IPM" means the comprehensive approach to pest management that combines biological, physical, chemical, and cultural tactics as well as effective, economic, environmentally sound, and socially acceptable methods to prevent and solve pest problems that emphasizes pest prevention and provides a decision-making process for determining if, when, and where pest suppression is needed and what control tactics and methods are appropriate.
(46) To Address Arsenic-Treated Wood in the Classroom and on School Grounds. - Local boards of education shall prohibit the purchase or acceptance of chromated copper arsenate-treated wood for future use on school grounds. Local boards of education shall seal existing arsenic-treated wood in playground equipment or establish a time line for removing existing arsenic-treated wood on playgrounds, according to the guidelines established under G.S. 115C-12(33). Local boards of education are encouraged to test the soil on school grounds for contamination caused by the leaching of arsenic-treated wood.
(47) To Address Mercury in the Classroom and on School Grounds. - Local boards of education are encouraged to remove and properly dispose of all bulk elemental mercury, chemical mercury, and bulk mercury compounds used as teaching aids in science classrooms, not including barometers. Local boards of education shall prohibit the future use of bulk elemental mercury, chemical mercury compounds, and bulk mercury compounds used as teaching aids in science classrooms, not including barometers.
(48) To Address Exposure to Diesel Exhaust Fumes. - Local boards of education shall adopt policies and procedures to reduce students' exposure to diesel emissions."
SECTION 5. G.S. 115C-47(45)b., as enacted by Section 4 of this act, becomes effective October 1, 2010. The remainder of this act becomes effective October 1, 2005.