Agriculture, forestry and fishing Workplace exposures

EPA eyes new requirements for workers handling ‘restricted use’ pesticides

Washington – The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing stricter training and certification rules for workers who apply “restricted use” pesticides.

The proposal, announced Aug. 5, is intended to reduce the risks of misapplication. “Restricted use” pesticides are those that are not available to the general public, require special handling, and may only be used by a certified applicator or someone under their direct supervision.

Among the new proposed requirements:

  • Certified applicators must be 18 years old.
  • Certifications must be renewed every three years.
  • Workers using high-risk application methods, such as fumigation or aerial, must have specialized certifications.

Additionally, the proposal would require annual safety training and increased oversight for anyone working under the supervision of a certified applicator. This training would include information on reducing take-home pesticide exposure.

“We are committed to keeping our communities safe, protecting our environment and protecting workers and their families,” Jim Jones, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a press release.

To help limit burdens faced by applicators or pest control companies working across state lines, the proposed rule promotes interstate recognition of applicator licenses.

At press time, the rule had not been formally published in the Federal Register. Once it is published, stakeholders will have 90 days to submit comments.