WASHINGTON, May 14, 2014 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the comment period for its proposed changes to the agricultural Worker Protection Standard, which dictates pesticide handling safety standards. EPA first announced changes to the standards in February.
The proposal is extended for an additional 60 days, until August 18, 2014, in response to requests from growers, industry, farmworker advocates and states for more comment time.
EPA’s proposed changes increase requirements for worker training regarding the safe use of pesticides, including how to prevent and treat pesticide exposure. The agency increased training from every five years to every year. EPA also proposed that children under 16 be legally barred from handling all pesticides.
“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, in the announcement. “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.”
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