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California Outreach to Educate Public About Dangers of Ant Control Products and Anti-microbial Cleaners in Schools

Today, California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation announced it was awarding grants to two innovative projects meant to educate the public about the dangers of particular pesticides used around homes and schools.

“Got Ants? Outreach to Reduce Risks from Pyrethroids to the Environment and Water Quality” aims to protect surface water quality by reducing residential use of pyrethroids- chemical compounds found in many popular insecticides used to kill ants.

A study done by Donald P. Weston and Michael J. Lydy in 2010 found nearly all residential run-off samples were toxic and contained pyrethroids at concentrations exceeding toxic thresholds, in many cases by 10-fold.

Pyrethroids are toxic to fish and other marine organisms. Even extremely small levels, such as 2 parts per trillion are lethal to mayflies, gadflies, and invertebrates, that form the base of the aquatic food web.

“Green Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting: A Toolkit for Early Care and Education” will develop a toolkit and hold workshops to inform educators about the health risks associated with mainstream cleaners and anti-microbial disinfectants and sanitizers.

According to the project’s mission statement, “There is confusion about the differences between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection and the effectiveness of ‘green’ or ‘organic’ products. For example, many hand sanitizers and antimicrobial soaps contain triclosan, a product that doesn’t kill viruses. These products are widely used when handwashing is not feasible even though most common infectious diseases in child care facilities are caused by viruses.”

Developing children are particularly at risk when exposed to chemicals found in popular school cleaners. The project will include fact sheets for parents, including tips for safe prevention of infectious illnesses without the use of chemicals.

Read more from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/pressrls/2011/110627.htm

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