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EPA violated pesticide rules in delaying protections for farmworker children

Staff Writer |
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled last Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) illegally delayed implementation of key pesticide rules that in part prevent minors from working with the most dangerous pesticides.


The rule revised rules mandate pesticide applicators be at least 18 years old. According to the EPA, there are about one million certified applicators nationwide.

Before delaying implementation, the agency said the revised rule could prevent some 1,000 acute poisonings every year.

In addition to requiring applicators to be at least 18-years-old, the revised 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicators (CPA) rule also improves the quality of training materials and says certified pesticide applicators must be able to read and understand the instructions.

The main purpose of the CPA rule is to protect workers and the public from poisonings, by ensuring that those who handle the most dangerous pesticides are properly trained and certified.

"We commend the court for recognizing that this important pesticide safeguard is needed to prevent injury to farmworkers and the public," said Stacey Geis, Earthjustice managing attorney.

"This ruling puts EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on notice that the courts are going to be scrutinizing any rule that reduces health protections for farmworkers."

Just a few days ago EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt received a letter from twenty-eight U.S. Senators urging the preservation of rules that would protect farmworkers and disallow minors to handle highly toxic pesticides.

In their letter, the Senators stress the impact of any potential changes, noting "the lives of children and families across the country at stake."


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