EPA proposes new pesticide farm worker safety rules
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed revisions to the Worker Protection Standard related to pesticide use because it claims workers on family farms to ag retailer operations to harvest workers need protected more than is currently occurring. The EPA issued new standards “in order to protect the nation’s two million farm workers and their families from pesticide exposure.”
“Today marks an important milestone for the farm workers who plant, tend and harvest the food that we put on our tables each day,” said Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator. “EPA’s revised Worker Protection Standard will afford farm workers similar health protections to those already enjoyed by workers in other jobs. Protecting our nation’s farm workers from pesticide exposures is at the core of EPA’s work to ensure environmental justice.”
EPA is proposing significant changes, which it contends are improvements to worker training regarding the safe usage of pesticides, including how to prevent and effectively treat pesticide exposures. Increased training and signage would be required to inform farm workers about the protections they are afforded under the law to help them protect themselves and their families from pesticide exposure.
Workers and others near treated fields will now be protected from pesticide overspray and fumes. The news release does not go into details related to fumes near application sites, although that is potentially a big change.
In addition, EPA has proposed that children under 16 be legally barred from handling all pesticides, with an exemption for family farms. The days of teens helping spray fields with herbicides could be numbered, according to the announcement.
“These revisions protect workers while ensuring agricultural productivity and preserving the traditions of family farms,” the EPA contends.
“This proposal represents more than a decade of extensive stakeholder input by federal and state partners and from across the agricultural community including farm workers, farmers and industry on the current EPA Worker Protection Standard (WPS) for Agricultural Pesticides first established in 1992,” the announcement states.
For more information on the EPA’s Proposed Worker Protection Standard you can click here.
- New calculator can help soybean farmers with seed decisions
- U.S., Brazil close to ending cotton trade rift
- U.S.-Japan trade talks hit new farm exports snag
- Ag markets posted a general comeback Wednesday
- Midwest grain growers ‘Invest an acre to feed the world’
- Ag markets turned mixed around midsession Wednesday
- Activists fighting Golden Rice even more in 2014
- U.S. GMO labeling foes triple spending in first half of this year
- Source shows half of GMO research is independent
- White House issues veto threat on bill to block WOTUS rule
- East-West Seed signs marketing collaboration with Monsanto
- How much corn can the ethanol industry use?