Philadelphia Partnership Addresses Urban Pest Problems: December 2010
Posted: December 6, 2010
The first workshop session of the meeting focused on healthy indoor environments and integrated pest management (IPM). Prentiss Ward, EPA Region III, spoke about the EPA’s Office of Children’s Health and their work to promote healthy environments for children in childcare facilities, at school and home. In addition, Cristina Schulingkamp, EPA Region III Air Protection Division, explained the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program and the low cost ways to minimize exposure to indoor pollution. Amber Brunskill, PA IPM Program, summarized PA IPM Program's work with Penn State Cooperative Extension’s Better Kid Care Program and their “Go Green for Kids Initiative”.
Participants were also briefed on other PSCIP partner programs such as the development of IPM in schools and childcare settings with Philadelphia Neighborhood Interfaith Movement, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's childcare initiatives in conjunction with the Office of Housing and Urban Development, and an update from the Philadelphia School District regarding their recent Indoor Environmental Quality programs and assessments. PSCIP has also been partnering with Home Health Professionals and the National Nursing Centers Consortium to increase caregivers' awareness of asthma triggers and bed bugs.
The second workshop session focused on IPM training and green skills development. PA IPM has been partnering with Resources for Human Development in Philadelphia to train ex-offenders to become licensed pest control professionals. PA IPM held three training sessions to provide entry-level IPM technician training including hands-on activities, pesticide safety, how to find resources online and interview skills. Ex-offenders who have successfully found work through the program attended the meeting to give their first-hand experiences. One employee talked about how intense the training was and how he never thought he could learn so much in such a short period of time. Another said how much he loved helping people change their situations and that he loved his work.
The third and final workshop session was dedicated to bed bugs. According to guest speaker Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, Ph.D., Cornell University, bed bugs in group-living facilities and schools are a significant and growing problem. “There is a lack of awareness amongst residents, landlords, tenants, school administrators, and medical and social workers, and limited resources and funds available to battle the problem.” Gangloff-Kaufmann says the best defense is to educate of all involved, and develop mandatory protocols to prevent infestations.
For more information about this meeting, other PSCIP programs, partners in the initiative, and current and future activities, visit Web site http://www.pscip.org. For more information on pests, pesticides and their effects on public health, visit the PA IPM Program’s Web site at http://paipm.org and click on ‘Public Health’.
PSCIP was formed nine years ago after the Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management Program (PA IPM) at Penn State began looking for community-based solutions to manage pests effectively and safely in indoor environments. PSCIP members include community groups, schools and child development centers, tenant groups, environmental groups, health professionals, pest control professionals, university staff and city and state agencies. The meeting will update partners on the progress of the groups various projects, discuss pest control and pesticide issues, and brainstorm new strategies needed activities and funding sources.
The Pennsylvania IPM program is a collaboration between the Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture aimed at promoting integrated pest management in both agricultural and urban settings. For more information, contact the program at (814) 865-2839, or Web site http://www.paipm.org.