EPA Requires Stronger Standards for Applying Restricted Use Pesticides

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Changes include increased training and minimum age requirements.

WASHINGTON—On Monday, December 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized new training and certification standards for applicators who apply restricted-use pesticides that are not available for purchase by the general public, and require special handling.

According to Jim Jones, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, “those who apply these restricted use pesticides will have better knowledge and ability to use these pesticides safely.”

According to the EPA, the new standards will reduce the likelihood of misapplication of pesticides. EPA’s new standards will 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 also 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.

The final action 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.

Learn more about the agency’s final rule, here.