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EPA Proposes Stronger Rules for Pesticide Applicators

Under the proposal, crop dusters will have to meet stricter standards when applying certain pesticides.

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing stricter regulations for pesticide applicators.

Under the guidelines, workers who spray some of the most hazardous pesticides would need to be at least 18 years old, renew their certifications every three years and take specialized training for certain chemicals.

The proposed guidelines are meant to improve pesticide worker safety, and guard public and environmental health.

Margaret Reeves with the Pesticide Action Network says the new rules will largely protect farmworkers tending to specialty crops, but commodity crop workers will benefit, too.

“Improving the process for those who apply pesticides will have benefits not just for them, but to their coworkers, bystanders, families, etc.,” she says. Reeves says the EPA’s proposal is a step in the right direction.

The EPA estimates the new rules would save more than $80 million through fewer pesticide-poisoning incidents.

A 90-day public comment period will start once the proposal is published in the federal register.