EPA Proposes Stronger Standards for Restricted-use Pesticide Applicators
In August, EPA proposed stronger training and certification standards for pesticide applicators who are certified to apply restricted-use pesticides (RUPs). The proposed rule would affect the approximately one million pesticide applicators in the U.S. who use RUPs, including commercial pesticide applicators and private pesticide applicators such as farmers. According to the agency, the proposed revisions to the existing regulation would enhance applicator competency standards to ensure that RUPs are used safely, and would require all applicators to renew their certifications every three years. EPA also proposes to require additional specialized certifications for applicators who use high-risk application methods such as fumigation and aerial application; require first-time annual safety training and increased oversight for persons working under the direct supervision of a certified applicator; and require training on reducing take-home pesticide exposure to protect workers’ families. The proposal would also require all persons using RUPs to be at least 18 years old. “The goal of [this] action is to reduce the likelihood of harm from the misapplication of toxic pesticides and ensure a consistent level of protection among states,” EPA said in its press release. “Pesticide use would be safer with increased supervision and oversight.” EPA will accept comments on the proposal until Nov. 23, 2015. For more information, see the agency’s Web page on the proposed rule or view the docket on