Education Bills a Breath of Fresh Air for Pesticide Foes

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Byline: Teresa Mask Daily Herald Staff Writer

Stopping the use of pesticide sprays in schools is a battle Hinsdale resident Diana Fleming has been fighting for 13 years.

She said her son, Doug, now in college, had recurring asthma attacks while a student in Hinsdale Elementary District 181 as a result of exposure to pesticides.

Experts say other chemical reactions include rashes and respiratory problems. Some exposure has been known to lead to neurological problems and cancer.

Illinois legislators and health experts have encouraged school officials for years to adopt alternate pest-control measures to protect students sensitive to chemicals.

This week it appears legislators are moving a step closer to forcing school districts to use pesticide sprays only as a last resort.

The Senate education committee approved two bills to that end. One would require 48-hour notice to parents before any pesticides are used on school grounds, allowing those with chemical sensitivity to take precautionary measures. The other would require schools to use alternative pest-control measures.

"It's time for Illinois to join states across the country that are requiring IPM (integrated pest management)," said state Sen. …