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Examples of different pesticides:

Weed killers (herbicides)

Bug sprays (insecticides)

Rat poison/bait (rodenticides)

Fungicides, herbicides, surface antimicrobials, insecticides, and insect repellents are all pesticides that may be used in schools. Antimicrobials like surface disinfectants and sanitizers control bacteria or viruses and can reduce sickness. Insecticides may control insects like mosquitoes that spread disease.

All pesticides may pose risk to human health, however children may be at higher risk than adults. This is because they are smaller and because their bodies and brains are growing. Children also act differently than adults. They often have more contact with the environment when they play on the ground or put their hands or objects in their mouths.

Examples of where pesticides may be used in schools:

Resources for teachers

Know your state laws!

All pesticides come with a label that tells the user how the product must be used. It is the law to follow all label directions. Aside from the label, there are no federal laws about how pesticides must be used in schools. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages states and school districts to create policies to reduce the risks of pests and pesticides to children.

Many states have rules about how pesticides can be used in or near schools. These laws may apply to public schools, private schools, or childcare facilities. Tribal governments or U.S. Territories may also have rules. Your State Pesticide Regulatory Agency can provide information about state pesticide laws.

Examples of state laws:

Teacher and student health in the classroom

Prevent pesticide poisoning

Incidents involving children under 6 years make up almost half of calls to local poison centers. To reduce pesticide risks:

Special considerations when selecting products for schools

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Schools

Classroom Resources

NPIC and the American Association of Poison Control Centers have created resources to help teachers reduce the risk of pesticides, including disinfectants. The following resources are printable and can be posted in a classroom.

Poison Safety Checklist

Using Disinfecting Wipes at Home and School

Disinfectant Wipes are Different

Using Bleach at Child Care Sites

Common school pests:

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Additional resources for teachers to reduce risk:

Additional resources about school pest management and policies:

Last updated February 10, 2023