WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2014-- The public comment period for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed changes to its Agricultural Worker Protection Standards, published on March 19, 2014, closed Monday.

The current worker protection standard regulations were last codified in 1992. 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 and proposed that children under 16 be legally barred from handling all pesticides.

In May, the agency extended the comment period for 60 days, until August 18, 2014, in response to requests from growers, industry, farmworker advocates and states for more time.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) said some areas of the proposal place unnecessary burdens on state regulatory agencies.

"While there is certainly room for modernizing specific provisions of the WPS, there are areas of the proposal which would result in significant costs to many of the forty-three state departments of agriculture that have pesticide regulatory responsibilities," said NASDA CEO Stephen Haterius. "We are also concerned significant elements of the proposal would place unreasonable burdens on agricultural producers."


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