The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the comment period for the proposed revisions to the agricultural Worker Protection Standard for an additional 60 days, until August 18, 2014, in response to requests from growers, industry, farmworker advocates and states for additional time to provide input.
“The opportunity to revise the rule may not come again for some time, so we are committed to getting it right,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Updating the 20-year old regulation to provide more protections to the nation’s two million farm workers and their families from pesticide exposure is a priority for EPA.”
The proposed changes provide significant improvements to worker training regarding the safe use of pesticides, including how to prevent and effectively treat pesticide exposure. Increased training from every five years to every year and signage would help farmworkers protect themselves and their families from pesticide exposure.
Workers and others near treated fields would be better protected from pesticide overspray and fumes. In addition, the EPA has proposed that children under 16 be legally barred from handling all pesticides. These revisions protect workers while ensuring agricultural productivity and preserving the traditions of and exemptions for family members working on family farms, the agency said.