Dover School District Needs a Pesticide Policy Now

Back in May of 2015 I wrote an open letter to the Dover school district Superintendent Elaine Arbour.

Here it stands, July 7th, and despite a verbal commitment, numerous emails, phone calls and sharing of resources, we still have no policy in place to protect students.


pesticide application sign athletic

A pesticide application sign on a private athletic field where children play in Middletown, Connecticut. A ban is in place on school athletic fields grades k-8.

Another open letter seemed appropriate given the amount of time that has passed, and especially in light of the important consensus statement released a week ago.

Dear Superintendent Arbour,


In May of 2015 we discussed creating a policy to protect Dover students from unnecessary pesticide exposure. I was verbally promised a policy would be created.

It is now July 2016.

On July 1st dozens of scientists, physicians and public health advocates created a scientific consensus statement regarding environmental impacts on children’s brain development.

“The TENDR Consensus Statement is a call to action to reduce exposures to toxic chemicals that can contribute to the prevalence of neurodevelopmental disabilities in America’s children. The TENDR authors agree that widespread exposures to toxic chemicals in our air, water, food, soil, and consumer products can increase the risks for cognitive, behavioral, or social impairment, as well as specific neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Di Renzo et al. 2015; Gore et al. 2015; Lanphear 2015; Council on Environmental Health 2011). This preventable threat results from a failure of our industrial and consumer markets and regulatory systems to protect the developing brain from toxic chemicals. To lower children’s risks for developing neurodevelopmental disorders, policies and actions are urgently needed to eliminate or significantly reduce exposures to these chemicals. Further, if we are to protect children, we must overhaul how government agencies and business assess risks to human health from chemical exposures, how chemicals in commerce are regulated, and how scientific evidence informs decision making by government and the private sector.”

Dover’s children deserve action on this matter now. I have sent a sample policy to you months ago to use as a template in drafting one for the Dover school system. We have an excellent bus idling policy and RSA in place, why do we not yet have one for pesticides?
No more time should be wasted in putting together this plan of action. Please contact me ASAP and let me know where you are at, and how the plan is to be going forward. Every season we wait, the more our children’s developing brains and bodies are put at risk by the toxic chemicals being used on our athletic fields and near play areas.


Please join me in urging the Superintendent and School Board to act now to protect our children from needless toxic chemical exposure.
Dr. Elaine M. Arbour, Ed.D.

You may email the board at:

Learn more about Project TENDR and their consensus statement here.


July, 21st 2016

Dr. Arbour has sent a response regarding the progress of the pesticide policy.
I appreciate your follow-up email regarding a pesticides policy for the Dover School District. We are in the process of drafting one with the City that will then be brought to the School Board.


In the meantime, both City and School District employees have been attending trainings on safe alternatives to pesticides. We have an internal meeting scheduled for August 17th to continue to coordinate our policies, and I will be working on several draft policy updates, including pesticide use, tomorrow.


I understand your concerns about keeping our children safe, as well as the learning and environmental impacts of pesticide use. They are being taken seriously and will be addressed in the coming months.




Elaine M. Arbour, Ed.D.


We are grateful for the Superintendent taking this matter seriously, and look forward to  seeing a policy be enacted to protect the health of Dover’s children.







About NonToxicDoverNH

Advocating for safe and healthy public spaces for Dover, New Hampshire residents.
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