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Department of Pesticide Regulation Funds Two Projects to Reduce Urban Pesticide Use

Media Contact: Lea Brooks
916-445-3974 |
December 17, 2012 (12-25)

SACRAMENTO - Reducing pesticide use in child day care centers and Southern California’s urban landscapes is the target of two innovative projects receiving grants from the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), Director Brian R. Leahy announced today. Pest Management Alliance Grants were awarded to:

  • University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health: "Integrated Pest Management Training Resources for California Pest Management Professionals Working in Early Care and Education Facilities," $200,481.
  • University of California Cooperative Extension, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources: "Expanding Integrated Pest Management Education to Southern California Spanish-speaking Landscapers," $124,611.

"These projects exemplify our goal to create an environment for innovation through grants and recognition," Leahy said. "They support integrated pest management (IPM) strategies that manage pests with fewer and more benign pesticides in child day care centers and urban landscapes to protect public health and improve water quality."

Alliance grants emphasize IPM and collaborative efforts that can be widely shared and implemented. IPM combines natural and preventive strategies that focus on long-term pest prevention and pose a low risk to people, pets and the environment. Pesticides are used as a last resort and selected to remove only the target pest.

DPR has awarded approximately $6 million in Alliance Grants to more than 60 projects since 1998. The grants are funded by fees on pesticide sales.

Details about the projects and local media contacts follow:

Integrated Pest Management Training Resources for California Pest Management Professionals Working in Early Care and Education Facilities

This project aims to increase the use of IPM at child day care centers by developing an education course for licensed pest management professionals tailored specifically for these facilities. Recent studies show that up to 70 percent of the pesticides used in child day care settings are applied by hired professionals.

The project will also educate child day care directors and administrators about state pesticide laws, and the importance of adopting IPM strategies and contracting with pest management professionals who complete the education course.

"Our primary goal is to increase the understanding and adoption of IPM in California child day care programs, and to decrease the use of pesticides, particularly pesticides applied by sprays and foggers," said Asa Bradman, associate director for exposure assessment at the University of California (UC) Berkeley’s Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health who is heading the project. "Reduced pesticide exposure will benefit children and staff working in child care."

A 2010 survey of pesticide use in California child day care centers showed that many of them are not meeting all requirements of the Healthy Schools Act, which addresses pesticide use in schools and in both public and private child day care facilities.

IPM practices advocated by the project include: detailed inspections and pest identification; the use of barriers to keep out pests; improved food storage, fixing leaks and other habitat modifications to reduce pests’ access to food, water and harborage; monitoring of pest populations; and selective use of the most benign pesticides to eliminate or manage pests.

The education course will be developed with a team that includes the Pest Control Operators of California, a trade organization of pest management professionals; Bay Area-based Pestec, a commercial pest control company and pioneer in IPM methods; and contributions from the UC Statewide IPM program. The course will be submitted for approval to the Structural Pest Control Board, which licenses business and individuals who conduct structural pest control.

The IPM training module will be pilot tested at eight workshops in California. It will also be made available online for continuing education credits for the businesses and individuals licensed to provide structural pest control in California.

This project is a follow-up to a 2008 grant DPR awarded to the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health to develop the IPM Toolkit for Early Care and Education.

Completed in 2011, the toolkit provides practical information about using IPM to prevent and manage pest problems in early care and education programs. It is posted at:

The media contact is Michael Broder, director of communications, UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, 510/642-9572 or

Expanding Integrated Pest Management Education to Southern California Spanish-speaking Landscapers

The goal of this project is to reduce runoff and ground water pollution from improperly applied pesticides that contribute to water quality degradation in Southern California’s urban areas.

The project targets the estimated 75,000 Spanish-speaking landscapers employed in the public and private sector in Southern California who are responsible for maintaining parks, golf courses, schools and large private plantings. There are few opportunities to receive training in Spanish on IPM practices stressing prevention and on applying pesticides safely. Putting the results of this training into practice is expected to reduce runoff and improve the health and safety of the workers.

The project team, comprised of UC Cooperative Extension, academic experts and an industry consortium, will offer 13 workshops that include hands-on training at work sites throughout Southern California. While the specific curriculum and training materials will be centered around information currently available through UC Statewide IPM, specific elements and teaching methods will be determined based on results of focus groups and individual interviews assessing this group’s needs.

The team will evaluate the change in pesticide use by program participants three months after training is complete to determine if the goal of reducing pesticide use 33 percent by Dec. 31, 2014, is met.

"Multiple studies indicate that over-irrigating landscape plantings often leads to fungal outbreaks that could have been prevented," said Janet Hartin, principal investigator for the project and a UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. "We believe this training will significantly reduce pesticide applications to public and private landscapes, parks, schools and golf courses in Southern California."

The project will build on and greatly expand work by a previous Pest Management Alliance Grant project completed in 2011 by the San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. That project’s goal was to reduce pesticide runoff into the county’s urban creeks by educating local "maintenance" gardeners and retail outlets that sell pesticides to these gardeners about IPM practices.

The San Luis Obispo project focused on Spanish-speaking maintenance gardeners who typically mow lawns, do general yard cleanup and occasionally apply pesticides on lawns and ornamental plants.

The newly funded project is oriented to the commercial landscape industry. Its focus is pest prevention by encouraging proper plant selection based on climate and microclimate conditions and stresses, and proper maintenance that promotes plant health and minimizes weeds, insects and diseases. The project includes training in Spanish that will aid landscapers in regularly monitoring landscape plantings for pest outbreaks based on early detection and identification measures.

The media contact is Janet Hartin, project principal investigator, at 951/313-2023 or

One of six departments and boards within the California Environmental Protection Agency, DPR regulates the registration, sale and use of pesticides and fosters reduced-risk pest management to protect people and the environment. Additional information about DPR is posted at

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