I’m writing this piece because no one else will. 

Schools may be poisoning our children. Here’s why.

The pandemic has everyone spraying, scrubbing and washing around the clock. So it’s no surprise that the use of handy electrostatic sprayers loaded with disinfectants on the EPA’s List N is popular and embraced by school custodians who are stressed-out and overworked yet under pressure to make sure everything is disinfected to the smallest detail.

But all that spraying may be having an unintended effect. We may be poisoning our children. That’s because all products on the EPA list of products to combat COVID-19 are technically pesticides. And pesticide exposure in childhood has been linked to attention and learning problems, as well as cancer. Even death.

As parents, or grandparent in my case, we should be concerned about the dangers of spraying classrooms, school hallways, and teachers’ lounges with EPA-registered chemicals. Even poison control centers have urged caution. Chemical cleaners, as some say, are the leading factor behind poison control cases since Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic.

The problem is, there is no real guideline on how schools should be cleaned. So school administrators lean toward the use of products recommended by the EPA because they don’t know how to identify safer products. 

For too long, we’ve simply accepted that our kids are in good hands at school—and they mostly are. But it’s time we told each other that it’s important to speak up against the cleaning products used by schools. 

One heavyweight, Clorox bleach, has surged in demand because of the pandemic. We haven’t always raised our voices, and we haven’t always told each other the truth about the dangers of bleach, but I’d like to think that we’re close to embracing positive change when it comes to using chemicals around children. 

Nothing happens, of course, unless we all demand that schools ditch their toxic cleaners. Safer alternatives exist. You don’t have to take my word for it. Click here to watch a short video that describes how one innovative nanotechnology uses the minerals found in ordinary tap water to kill a very broad range of pathogens thousands of times better than chemical disinfectants must meet to qualify as EPA registered. It’s proven by science and written about in top scientific journals such as the American Journal of Infection Control.

And yet, most schools in the United States have decided to stick with chemicals. The fear of change and an affinity for traditional things is more compelling than the health and wheel-being of our children, or so it seems. This could be one of the nation’s biggest health mistakes. 

The science overwhelmingly indicates that pesticide poisoning is especially harmful to young children since their brain and nervous systems are in their early stages of development. Daycares would do well, therefore, to investigate non-toxic cleaning alternatives fully.   

Remember, pesticides are designed to kill living organisms. Your children are living organisms. 


  • Born in Brooklyn and raised in the Carolinas | runner | bogey golfer on a good day | beagle dad | lover of all things Italian | coffee snob