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EPA mulls health care worker training on pesticide-related illnesses

Photo: Worledit/iStockphoto

Washington — The Environmental Protection Agency wants feedback as it considers a training program for health care providers on recognizing, treating and reporting pesticide-related illnesses and injuries.

A Sept. 24 Request for Information states that the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act of 2022 includes funding for the agency to offer this type of training.

Although EPA frequently reviews proposals for new pesticides and new uses for existing pesticides while keeping sensitive subgroups in mind during its human health risk assessments, “pesticide-related illnesses still occur and are widely misdiagnosed and underreported,” the agency says.

“This owes, in part, to the fact that health care providers receive limited training on occupational and environmental health. Thus, HCPs may not take occupational health histories to determine patients’ risk of pesticide illness, correctly diagnose the condition or report it to public health authorities.”

EPA provides stakeholders with seven specific questions for consideration, including:

  • What populations – besides farmworkers, pesticide handlers and applicators – are at elevated risk of pesticide-related illness and would benefit from more highly trained HCPs?
  • How can EPA ensure training and technical assistance activities are responsive to the social determinants of health, cultural context and vulnerabilities of patients at elevated risk of pesticide-related illness?

Comments on the RFI are due Nov. 24.

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