Outline of the state of District of Columbia
District of Columbia

Chemical Hazards

Chemical Hazards

State law requires districts to utilize environmentally-safe chemicals and/or to reduce chemical exposure in schools.

Code of the District of Columbia 38–825.01. Environmental programs office.


  • (1) An environmental programs office is established in the Department of General Services and shall:
    • (A) Contract with vendors to recycle all materials required by District law at all public schools, including food services, by December 31, 2010, and provide technical assistance to public charter schools about recycling[;]
    • (B) Develop a master recycling plan for public schools on or before December 31, 2011 to reach a system-wide diversion rate of 45% by August 1, 2015;
    • (C) Analyze utility usage at each public school and develop a plan to reduce that amount by 20% on or before August 1, 2015;
    • (D) Establish an integrated pest management program;
    • (E) Repealed.
    • (F) Comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead; Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program, established by 40 C.F.R. Part 745;
    • (G) Post the results of its environmental testing online;
    • (H) Promote the Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program to reduce exposure to environmental factors that impact asthma among children and adults in public schools;
    • (I) Develop an electronic recycling policy for public schools on or before December 31, 2011; and
    • (J) Establish a composting program in the District of Columbia Public Schools.
  • (2) The contracts under paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection shall be negotiated to provide a financial incentive to reduce the amount of waste created in public schools and, when possible, to increase diversion rates in public schools[.] (b) The District of Columbia Public Schools shall:
  • (1) Use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies in public schools; provided, that the agency may exhaust its current supply of conventional cleaners; and
  • (2) Prepare and transmit to the Mayor, the Council, and the Healthy Youth and Schools Commission, on or before December 31, 2012, a plan to use sustainable products in serving meals to students. (c) On or before December 31, 2012, the Mayor shall prepare and transmit to the Council a comprehensive report describing the implementation of recycling, composting, energy-reduction, pest management, air quality, and environmentally friendly cleaning supplies programs in public schools. The report shall include:
  • (1) A thorough, school-by-school breakdown of the waste stream in public schools, including tonnages, components, and diversion rates;
  • (2) Baseline energy usage, an analysis of usage patterns, and savings achieved;
  • (3) Recommendations and a timeline for further implementing these programs; and
  • (4) A proposal for recognizing and rewarding schools that significantly improve their environmental portfolio.
Policy Type

Code of the District of Columbia 8-431. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term: (8) “Integrated pest management” or “IPM” means an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage economically, and with a strong preference for examining a range of cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical practices and selecting a method presenting the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

Policy Type

Code of the District of Columbia 8-433. Prohibited and restricted uses.

(a) Except as provided in § 8-434, no person or entity shall apply a pesticide to schools, child-occupied facilities, waterbody-contingent property, or District property; provided, that a person or entity may apply:

  • (1) Minimum-risk pesticides or organic pesticides; and
  • (2) Any pesticide, except a District restricted-use pesticide, that is applied for the purpose of:
    • (A) Controlling plants that are poisonous to touch or may cause damage to a structure or infrastructure;
    • (B) Controlling insects that bite or sting, are venomous, or that may cause damage to a structure or infrastructure;
    • (C) Controlling disease vectors;
    • (D) Controlling organisms that threaten the health of trees or shrubs;
    • (E) Maintaining property as part of efforts by a public utility to comply with applicable vegetation management provisions of any federal or District law or regulation;
    • (F) Controlling pests or weeds while engaged in agriculture or forestry;
    • (G) Controlling a pest outbreak that poses an imminent threat to human health; and
    • (H) Preventing significant economic damage. (b) In addition to the restrictions in subsection (a) of this section, the Department may establish additional restrictions on the use of District restricted-use pesticides. (c) If a pesticide is applied under subsection (a)(2) of this section, the person or entity applying the pesticide shall, within 7 days after the application, notify the Department of the application, the reasons for application of the pesticide, and the reason why pesticides allowed under subsection (a)(1) of this section were insufficient.
Policy Type