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EPA Tightens Rules on the Use of Pesticides

Monday, October 12, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jennifer Addington
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EPA Tightens Rules on the Use of Pesticides


We received a heads up from Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort that EPA and the US Labor Department were poised to release new rules on pesticide use last week. Unfortunately, they were spot on with their prediction. AmericanHort previously submitted extensive comments prior to the announcement and is currently working on a thorough review of the rules. Stay tuned for more information from GGIA and AmericanHort. The following article comes from Greenhouse Management.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released changes to the 1992 Worker Protection Standard that include stronger protections for the United States' 2 million agricultural workers and families working on farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses, according to EPA's website.


The major revisions include:

Annual mandatory training to inform farmworkers on the required protections afforded to them. Currently, training is only once every 5 years.


Expanded training includes instructions to reduce take-home exposure from pesticides on work clothing and other safety topics.

First-time ever minimum age requirement: Children under 18 are prohibited from handling pesticides.

Expanded mandatory posting of no-entry signs for the most hazardous pesticides. The signs prohibit entry into pesticide-treated fields until residues decline to a safe level.


New no-entry application-exclusion zones up to 100 feet surrounding pesticide application equipment will protect workers and others from exposure to pesticide overspray.


Requirement to provide more than one way for farmworkers and their representatives to gain access to pesticide application information and safety data sheets - centrally-posted, or by requesting records.


Mandatory record-keeping to improve states' ability to follow up on pesticide violations and enforce compliance.


Records of application-specific pesticide information, as well as farmworker training, must be kept for two years.


Anti-retaliation provisions are comparable to Department of Labor's (DOL).


Changes in personal protective equipment will be consistent with DOL's standards for ensuring respirators are effective, including fit test, medical evaluation and training.


Specific amounts of water to be used for routine washing, emergency eye flushing and other decontamination, including eye wash systems for handlers at pesticide mixing/loading sites.


Continue the exemption for farm owners and their immediate families with an expanded definition of immediate family.


 "The regulation seeks to protect and reduce the risks of injury or illness resulting from agricultural workers' (those who perform hand-labor tasks in pesticide-treated crops, such as harvesting, thinning, pruning) and pesticide handlers' (those who mix, load and apply pesticides) use and contact with pesticides on farms, forests, nurseries and greenhouses," according to the website.


 An official effective date will be put in place after revisions are published in the Federal Register.


Click here to read the fact sheet provided by EPA.

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