Federal agencies Agriculture, forestry and fishing Workplace exposures

EPA unveils calculator for workers exposed to pesticide-treated seeds

Photo: ImagineGolf/iStockphoto

Washington — In an effort to provide “more confidence and certainty” about risks and exposures related to occupational pesticide seed treatment, the Environmental Protection Agency has developed a calculator and released updated worker exposure data.

The calculator allows users to generate exposure and risk estimates by adjusting seed treatment exposure scenarios, exposure routes and levels of personal protective equipment.

Noting that seed treatment policies “serve as the underlying documentation and rationale for EPA’s seed treatment assessment approach,” the agency says the user-friendly calculator “enables a faster and more efficient process and, by standardizing the calculations, ensures that each proposed seed treatment registration is handled similarly.”


Additionally, EPA has updated its seed treatment exposure assessment data to reflect research from the Agricultural Handler Exposure Task Force. Per the agency, the current version of the document “Standard Operating Procedures for Seed Treatment (ExpoSAC Policy 14)” dates to 2003 and includes findings from studies conducted between 1986 and 2001 of workers in commercial seed treatment facilities, as well as those conducting on-farm seed treatment or loading and planting treated seed.

“EPA’s updated worker exposure data and calculator will help state and local governments, pesticide manufacturers, academics, and others evaluate the potential for health effects to a person who might be exposed to pesticides as part of their work,” the agency says in a press release.

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