State law requires districts to utilize environmentally-safe chemicals and/or to reduce chemical exposure in schools.
New Mexico Administrative Code 18.104.22.168 Procedural Requirements
(P) (6) (b) Districts and charter schools will develop procedures for the implementation of pest management with consideration for reducing the possible impact of pesticide use on human health and the environment, including people with special sensitivities to pesticides. Procedures will include, but are not limited to, the following:
- (i) No pesticide may be applied to public school property and no pest control device, as defined in the New Mexico Pesticide Control Act, may be used on public school property except those pesticides and devices currently registered for legal use in the state by the New Mexico department of agriculture.
- (ii) No pesticide may be applied to public school property except by those persons certified in the applicable category and currently licensed by the New Mexico department of agriculture or by employees under their direct supervision.
- (iii) Pesticides will only be applied in or on the outside of school buildings when a pest is present, and will not be applied on a regular or calendar basis unless it is to treat an infestation and is a part of a pest management system being implemented to address a particular target pest. A pest is considered to be present when it is observed directly or can reasonably be expected to be present based on finding evidence, such as droppings, body parts, or damage that is typically done by the pest. This section of the regulation does not apply to pre-construction termite treatments or the use of outdoor herbicides.
- (iv) Pesticides that are applied in a liquid, aerosolized or gaseous form through spraying, aerosol cans, bombs, fumigation or injections into the ground, foundation or plants will not be applied on public school property when students, staff or visitors are present, or may reasonably be expected to be present within 6 hours of the application. In emergency cases, where a pest infestation threatens the health or safety of the occupants of public school property, and which requires the immediate application of a pesticide to remediate, students, staff and other school occupants will be removed from the treatment area prior to the application. Small amounts of gel or liquid pesticides applied to cracks and crevices or baits used to treat pest infestation are exempt from this section.
- (v) At the beginning of each year, and when new students register, schools will develop a list of parents and guardians who wish to be notified prior to pesticide application during the school year. These parents/guardians will be notified in writing prior to pesticide application. General notification of anticipated pesticide applications will occur by posting or dissemination of notices, by oral communication or other means of communication. In emergency cases where a pest infestation threatens the health or safety of the occupants of public school property, no pre-notification is required. Immediately following the application of a pesticide in emergency cases, signs will be posted indicating an application was made.
PLANNING FOR SAFE SCHOOLS IN NEW MEXICO
Manual addresses requirements for safe storage and labeling of hazardous chemicals on school property.
School District Wellness Policy Guidance Document
Manual encourages district wellness policies to establish protections for students by prohibiting use of certain harmful chemicals in schools, such as specific pesticides, and cleaning agents.