EPA Proposes New Pesticide Rules to Protect Workers
Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS).† The aim of the proposed changes is to increase protection from pesticide exposure for the nationís two million agricultural workers and their families.
According to the EPA, the proposed changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard include:
- Increased frequency of mandatory trainings (from once every five years to annually) to inform farm workers about the protections they are afforded under the law, including restrictions on entering pesticide-treated fields and surrounding areas, decontamination supplies, access to information and use of personal protective equipment. Expanded trainings will include instructions to reduce take-home exposure from pesticides on work clothing and other safety topics.
- 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.
- First time-ever minimum age requirement: Children under 16 will be prohibited from handling pesticides, with an exemption for family farms.
- No-entry buffer areas surrounding pesticide-treated fields will protect workers and others from exposure from pesticide overspray and fumes.
- Measures to improve the statesí ability to enforce compliance, including requiring employers to keep records of application-specific pesticide information as well as farm worker training and early-entry notification for two years.
- Personal Protection Equipment (respirator use) must be consistent with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards for ensuring respirators are providing protection, including fit test, medical evaluation, and training.
- Make available to farm workers or their advocates (including medical personnel) information specific to the pesticide application, including the pesticide label and Safety Data Sheets.
ďThese proposed changes would provide additional layers of protection for not only farm workers, but also the public through no-entry buffer zones and new signage requirements,Ē said Vincent M. Daliessio, CIH, Project Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc.† ďAt EMSL, we provide pesticide testing services for air, soil and water, as well as pesticide residue testing services on food products to help prevent unnecessary exposure to these chemicals.† EMSLís Products Division also provides access to personal protective equipment such as respirators and masks, replacement filters, and disposable suits and gloves for the protection of workers using pesticides.Ē
To learn more about pesticide testing services and personal protective equipment, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com .
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of food, environmental, and materials testing services and products to government agencies, industry professionals and the general public.†The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.
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