BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
PO Box 88 ~
Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone
(336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email:
MARCH 21, 2001
Janet Zeller (336) 982-2691
Denise Lee (704) 826-8116
BREDL LAUNCHES CHILD
PROOFING OUR SCHOOLS CAMPAIGN
Today at a press conference in Wilmington, the
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League launched
a statewide campaign to protect North Carolina
school children from toxic chemical exposures.
The group plans to work with parents and school
officials to determine the level of environmental
toxins in the states schools and to
implement programs to reduce or eliminate these
BREDL released a new national report called
Poisoned Schools: Invisible Threats, Visible
Actions. The report details the dangers to
children attending schools located near toxic air
pollution sources and contaminated sites.
Poisoned Schools also reports that routine
application of pesticides harms children by
causing cancer, brain damage, and immune system
Parents are justifiably concerned about
protecting their children from gun violence at
schools, but they are unaware that toxic
chemicals kill, said Denise Lee, community
organizer fro BREDL. She continued, This
report offers a clear solution to this invisible
In letters delivered today to Board of
Commissioners chairpersons in New Hanover,
Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, and Cherokee
counties, BREDL made the following
recommendations for board action on new school
siting and pesticides programs:
Participation in the school site acquisition
process should be available to parents,
age-appropriate students, teachers, and community
To ensure precautionary approaches are taken when
locating new schools, a complete site history,
site visit, survey of surrounding potential
sources of contamination, and testing and
evaluation of potential health risks to children
should be part of any site proposal. When there
is cause for concern, another site should be
Under no circumstances should a school be built
on top of a hazardous waste dump, garbage dump,
or other landfilled property.
When other sites are not available, the proposed
school property should be cleaned up to standards
that protect children.
No source of contamination, such as a landfill or
containment facility, should be built or
established within 1,000 feet of a school or Head
Start facility. Industrial or other facilities
releasing chemicals should never be built or
located within 2 miles of a school.
Participation in a school Integrated Pest
Management committee or other formal group should
be available to parents, age-appropriate
students, teachers, and community members.
Preventive and alternative pest controls should
be used first. These include sanitation measures
that eliminate pest habitats, structural remedies
that block pest access, and maintenance measures
that prevent pest infestations.
Use least-toxic pesticides only if pests present
a documented health or safety hazard and never
for strictly aesthetic purposes.
If pesticides are used, they should be the least
toxic available and their use strictly limited.
Under no circumstances should pesticides be used
that can cause cancer, reproductive damage,
nervous system damage, disruption of the hormonal
(endocrine) system, damage to the immune system,
or acute toxicity.
If least-toxic pesticides are to be applied,
parents, students, and teachers should be
notified in advance through written notification
and posting. Notification should include what
pesticides will be used, the health effects
associated with exposure, contact information,
documentation as to why use is necessary, and the
right to request alternatives.
Similar letters will go this week to elected
officials in all 100 North Carolina counties.
Many of BREDLs 37 chapters will provide
assistance to parents and school officials in
assessing and eliminating childrens toxic
Organized in 1984, BREDL is a statewide
grassroots environmental organization. Their
staff and volunteers provide technical and
community organizing assistance to local groups.
Publication and national release of the report
was coordinated by The Center for Health,
Environment and Justice.
Schools: Invisible Threats,
Visible Actions -
a project of the Center
for Health, Environment and
Justice PO Box 6806 Falls Church, VA
22040 (703) 237-2249