Pesticides on Campus

There are potential health hazards caused by pesticides being sprayed on campus at Pierce College Puyallup.

Shelby Cross, Online Reporter

Pierce College Puyallup has been using pesticides on their foliage and flowers for approximately 10 years in an effort to control small nuisances like weeds and fungus, according to the Puyallup campus Building and Grounds Manager Dan Timmons. 

The Puyallup campus used to be small until popular demand required extensive expansions. Now it’s grown to be six buildings, with a large amount of parking and a lot less wildlife than before.

A multitude of animals have been found on the Puyallup campus, including squirrels, garter snakes, neighbor cats, species of birds, coyotes and dogs being walked by owners that live near campus. The problem is, pesticides can impact these animals as well as the pests they’re intended to deter. 

It’s not just animals that can be negatively effected by pesticides, people can be put at risk as well. The Garnero Child Development Center is located near the grassy areas where pesticides are sprayed on campus.

According to a 2010 Harvard study, a major health risk associated with children being exposed to pesticides is an increased chance of acquiring ADHD. A Public Health Institute study from 2007 found that children are six times more likely to be born with autism when in an environment where pesticides are used. 

“I’m not aware of any situation where the health of a student, child or pet was negatively impacted due to the use of pesticides on campus,” Timmons said.

An alternative option for the college would be to spray the pesticides during times when there’s low student traffic, such as weekends, during the summer or at night. 

“We always attempt to apply pesticides during low-traffic times; however, due to temperature and humidity requirements we sometimes have little control over what time of day we apply the pesticides,” Timmons said. “We’ve scheduled pesticide applications for the weekends when we were unable to find a time during the week that provided us access and necessary environmental conditions. Regardless of the day and time we apply pesticide we always post signs stating the date and type of pesticide being applied in the area.”

Timmons also said that the college has been discussing “alternative methods to help deter and reduce weeds on campus,” but did not say why.


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Shelby Cross
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Pesticides on Campus

by Shelby Cross time to read: 1 min