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The Future Role of Pesticides in US Agriculture
Requirement of protective clothing for any person reentering a field before the designated reentry time
Requirement for notifying workers regarding pesticide-related locations.
A 1983 EPA review of the 1974 FIFRA regulations designed to protect agricultural workers concluded that 40 CFR part 170 was inadequate. A major concern was the lack of enforceability. In 1992, after a long process of rule-making and public participation, EPA promulgated revisions to the 1974 rules (EPA 1992). The risk-benefit analysis in the 1992 Federal Register report stated that “EPA estimates that at least tens of thousands of acute illnesses and injuries and a less certain number of delayed onset illnesses occur annually to agricultural employees as the result of occupational exposures to pesticides used in the production of agricultural plants. These injuries continue to occur despite the protections offered by the existing part 170 and by product-specific regulation of pesticides. ” Additionally, The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimated that 32,800 agricultural-related injuries occurred to children or adolescents under the age of 20 who lived on, worked on, or visited a farm operation in 1998. Many of these included exposures to pesticides (NASS 1999).
The 1992 regulations stated further that “the Agency believes that this (new 1992) rule will reduce substantially the current illness and injury incidents at modest cost to agricultural employers, pesticide handler employers, and registrants.” The estimated cost after the first year was predicted to be $49.4 million per year. “Assuming that the majority of the current acute illnesses and injury incidents...are prevented through compliance with this new rule, there will be significant benefits to agricultural workers and pesticide handlers.” In developing the new regulations, EPA indicated that the “minor use crops are the ones this Worker Protection Standard will impact the most. Much of agricultural labor is used in minor use crops, and it is in the production of these crops where the greatest chance of pesticide exposure to agricultural workers occurs.”
The rules in the 1992 Worker Protection Standard (WPS) apply to all farm, forest, nursery, and greenhouse operations. The WPS is not applicable to rangelands, pastures, livestock operations, postharvest operations, structural pest control, nonagricultural plants or noncommercial plants.
The 1992 WPS and amendments to it are complex, but the general guidelines are as follows:
General information on safe use of pesticides and facts about each