WASHINGTON- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing standards for applicators who apply restricted-use pesticides that are not available for purchase by the general public, and require special handling.
Today’s action will 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 would 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 may issue licenses to pesticide applicators with an EPA-approved program 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.