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View EO 12866 Meetings Printer-Friendly Version     Download RIN Data in XML

EPA/OCSPP RIN: 2070-AJ22 Publication ID: Fall 2013 
Title: Pesticides; Agricultural Worker Protection Standard Revisions 
Abstract: EPA is developing a proposal under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act to revise the federal regulations that direct agricultural worker protection (40 CFR 170). The changes under consideration are intended to improve agricultural workers' ability to protect themselves from potential exposure to pesticides and pesticide residues and to protect their families from potential secondary exposures to pesticides and pesticide residues. EPA is also considering adjustments to improve and clarify current requirements to facilitate compliance; to align the WPS' hazard communication requirements with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements; and to improve pesticide safety training, with improved worker safety the intended outcome. This proposal is in response to EPA discussions with key stakeholders beginning in 1996. Since then, EPA has held numerous public meetings throughout the country during which the public submitted written and verbal comments on issues and concerns with the existing requirements. 
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 170   
Legal Authority: 7 USC 136w   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: The agricultural workforce may be exposed to pesticides and pesticide residues that have the potential to pose long- and short-term health risks. In addition, families may potentially be exposed through secondary exposure to pesticide residues. These direct and indirect exposures have the potential to pose long- and short-term health risks. Implementing the Worker Protection Standards (WPS) is a key part of EPA's strategy for reducing occupational exposures to agricultural pesticides. The WPS is designed to protect employees on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses from occupational exposures to agricultural pesticides; and offers protections to approximately 2.5 million agricultural workers (people involved in the production of agricultural plants) and pesticide handlers (people who mix, load, or apply pesticides) that work at over 600,000 agricultural establishments. Although EPA has taken a number of steps to ensure effective national implementation of and compliance with the WPS regulation, the need to consider potential changes to the WPS arose from EPA discussions with key stakeholders beginning in 1996. Since that time, EPA has held several public meetings throughout the country during which written and verbal comments identified issues and concerns with the existing requirements.

Summary of the Legal Basis: EPA establishes standards for protecting agricultural workers from potential exposure to pesticides and pesticide residues under the authority of sections 2 through 35 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), 7 USC 136-136y, and particularly section 25(a), 7 USC 136w(a).

Alternatives: In implementing the existing WPS, EPA has addressed identified deficiencies in the existing regulation through non-regulatory means whenever possible. For example, the Agency has developed improved training materials that are sector-specific and in multiple languages; improved capacity for outreach; a train-the-trainer program; health care practitioner (HCP) curricula to train HCPs on pesticide exposure identification and treatment; and a bilingual manual for HCPs to use in identifying pesticide poisonings. The Agency also provides financial support for pesticide safety training. Changes under consideration for the WPS regulation are necessary improvements but will not replace these non-regulatory measures. In fact, EPA intends to consider continued support for and potential additions to these and other potential non-regulatory measures that may contribute to improving protections and compliance.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: EPA is currently evaluating the incremental costs and benefits of the changes under consideration and will present the EPA estimates in the proposed rule. In general, EPA anticipates that the potential incremental benefits will likely accrue to workers and handlers through improved health outcomes, and that the potential incremental costs will involve revised requirements for agricultural employers.

Risks: Agricultural workers and pesticide handlers are at risk from pesticide exposure through their work activities, and may put their families at risk of secondary exposures. These exposures can pose significant long- and short-term health risks that are difficult to quantify in terms of a specific level of risk because workers and handlers are potentially exposed to a wide range of pesticides with varying toxicities and risks.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  03/00/2014 
Additional Information: Docket #: EPA-HQ-OPP-2005-0561.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State, Tribal 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL:  
Sectors Affected: 111 Crop Production; 115 Support Activities for Agriculture and Forestry; 32532 Pesticide and Other Agricultural Chemical Manufacturing; 541690 Other Scientific and Technical Consulting Services; 541712 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology); 8133 Social Advocacy Organizations 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Kathy Davis
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:703 308-7002
Fax:703 308-2962

Jeanne Kasai
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:703 308-3240
Fax:703 308-3259

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