EPA Updates Ag Worker Protections

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The Environmental Protection Agency's turned its attention to pesticide use and has some new rules it wants to put in place over how states certify users.
The Certified and Training rule is intended to get stronger standards for pesticide applicators that use riskier pesticides labeled as "restricted use." Its goal is to reduce harm from misapplications and get consistency across state lines.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Bureau says the rule would apply to pesticide applicators across the U.S.
Chief of the Pesticide Bureau Dr. Grechen Paluch says, "So it'd be anyone who's going to be using restricted use pesticides on a national level and in Iowa our certified pesticide applicators are ones that operate commercially and use general use pesticides in addition to restricted use pesticides. So it does hit a larger population in Iowa. So, about 14,000 pesticide applicators here."
The EPA says it will affect nearly a million applicators nationwide. The Certified and Training rule is still in a public comment period and it requires applicators to renew certifications every three years.
The EPA also just finalized the Worker Protection Standard rule they say it will help two million agricultural workers.
One of the new aspects is it puts in place is a minimum age requirement of 18 to work with pesticides.
Paluch says in Iowa, Worker Protection will cover a diverse landscape.
She adds there's a number of different pieces written in to the rule and it could change how people apply pesticides, "There's a little bit of change in the structure of whether or not you have a central posting area notification, and then there's been some talk about some of these pesticide exclusion zones. So when you apply a pesticide, being aware of people around you, anyone that's working in that area. Communication, information exchange, all of those are big ones that I think are very good for people to stay up to date on."

Paluch adds there are some new training and record keeping aspects of the Worker Protection Standard as well.

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