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Laws Protecting Kids from Environmental Hazards

January 9, 2013


Throughout California, campaigns against environmental health hazards at school have made many schools safer and led to the passage of important laws protecting children’s health.

Environmental hazards seem to be most common in schools that serve children of color. But some problems, like the use of dangerous pesticides, affect schools in many neighborhoods.

However, the movement to protect children from environmental hazards has won some important protections in California laws:

  • It is illegal to build a school on a dumpsite.
  • School districts must inspect schools built before 1992 for lead and control any identified lead hazards.
  • The Children’s Environmental Health Protection Act of 1999 requires reassessment of air quality standards to ensure they protect infants and children.
  • The School Contamination Prevention Act mandates that school districts make sure a site is safe for children before they buy land or build a school.
  • The Pesticide Prevention Act and the Healthy Schools Act of 2000 requires schools to notify parents when pesticides are applied and establishes a least-toxic pest-management program.
  • State and federal laws give residents the right to know what hazardous chemicals are used or stored in their communities.

Originally written by Deborah Prussel and Jean Tepperman.