U.S.: EPA proposes new pesticide rules
In a bid to protect two million farmworkers and their families in the U.S., the country's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put forth planned revisions to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS).
The agency has proposed 'significant improvements' to worker training in the safe usage of pesticides, which includes methods to prevent and effectively treat pesticide exposure. The new measures would also include greater signage on farms to inform workers about their protections afforded by law.
The standard would protect workers and others near treated fields from pesticide overspray and fumes, while banning the handling of all pesticides by children under 16, although family farms would be exampt from the latter.
In a release, the EPA claimed the revisions would protect workers, ensure agricultural productivity and preserve the traditions of family farms.
"Today marks an important milestone for the farm workers who plant, tend, and harvest the food that we put on our tables each day," EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said in the release.
"EPA's revised Worker Protection Standard will afford farm workers similar health protections to those already enjoyed by workers in other jobs.
"Protecting our nation’s farm workers from pesticide exposure is at the core of EPA's work to ensure environmental justice."
The proposal is based on more than a decade input by federal and state partners and from across the agricultural community including farm workers, farmers, and industry.
The WPS for Agricultural Pesticides was first established in 1992.