The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized standards for applicators who apply restricted-use pesticides that are not available for purchase by the general public and require special handling.
“We are committed to keeping our communities safe, protecting our environment and protecting workers and their families,” said Jim Jones, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “By improving training and certification, those who apply these restricted use pesticides will have better knowledge and ability to use these pesticides safely.”
The overall goal is to reduce the likelihood of harm from the misapplication because the pesticides may only be applied by a certified applicator or someone working under their direct supervision. EPA’s stricter standards require all people who are certified to apply restricted use pesticides to be at least 18 years of age. These certifications must be renewed every five years.
EPA is requiring specialized licensing for certain methods such as fumigation and aerial application that can pose greater risks if not conducted properly. For further protection, those working under the supervision of certified applicators will now receive training to use pesticides safely and to protect their families from “take-home” pesticide exposure.
EPA expects the benefits of this rule to include fewer acute pesticide incidents to people, reduced chronic exposure and reduced incidents of ecological harm from pesticide use.
States and Tribes with an EPA-approved program may issue licenses to pesticide applicators who can demonstrate the ability to use these products safely.
The final action also updates requirements for state programs and for applicators obtaining licenses. Many states already have in place some of the stronger requirements of today’s action.
The final rule includes flexibility for states to continue portions of their existing programs that are equivalent to the revised rule. EPA will work with states to review and approve updated certification plans.