What is your school's policy on keeping bugs and other "pests: out of the classroom? Twelve years ago, one Indiana mom found out the hard way that her school was heavy-handed in their use of toxic chemicals to control any type of pest. Her son began to suffer respiratory distress and other symptoms and missed lots of school days until finally, one forward-thinking doctor realized the connection between the boy's illnesses and the frequency at which his classroom was sprayed for pests.

The incident happened in 1997 in Monroe County, Indiana, and it prompted the entire school district to overhaul its pest control program, spraying pesticides only as a last resort. Schools were directed to rely on better housekeeping rather than chemicals. The result? Schools in Monroe County cut their pesticide use by 92 percent, saved tons of money, and saw significantly fewer complaints about insects and rodents.

And now ... finally ... the rest of the country is going to follow suit. Under a plan released by the EPA this year, all public schools are "encouraged" to adopt integrated pest management practices (in other words ... use less chemicals) by 2015. EPA experts calculate will reduce the overall use of pesticides in schools by at least 70%. That's good news for the planet, the school, and our kids.

Safer schools: Keeping bugs at bay
EPA encourages schools to use safer methods for controlling bugs.