Pesticide Field Programs Contribution to National Pesticide Program Mission (Questions and Answers)
Current as of April 2, 2007
Pesticide Field Programs
- What is the mission of EPA’s National Pesticide Program?
- What constitutes the field component of the National Pesticide Program?
- What is the contribution of the Pesticide Field Program to the National Pesticide Program?
- What are the major field program activities which contribute to attaining national goals?
- What is the value of these activities?
The mission of EPA’s National Pesticide Program is to protect human health and the environment from unreasonable adverse effects resulting from pesticide use and ensure pesticides and alternatives are available for safe use. Under its statutory authority, the National Pesticide Program’s responsibilities include protecting consumers, pesticide users or workers who may be exposed to pesticides, and protecting eco-systems, including non-target plants and species. Because many pesticides are potentially hazardous, the Agency serves an important role as a selective gateway to the pesticide market and an effective steward of pesticides already on the market. Achieving these protective outcomes requires the combination of programs and activities by citizens, pesticide users, registrants, states, tribes, EPA Regions and Headquarters and other partners.
The field program is made up of the frontline implementation activities carried out by states, tribes, EPA Regional pesticide experts and associated partners. Among other activities the pesticide field program:
- helps protect agricultural workers;
- provides certification and training for users of some of the more hazardous pesticides to enhance competence and insure safe use;
- promotes protection of endangered and threatened species;
- collaborates in protecting the nation’s water supplies from pesticide risk; and
- promotes comprehensive protection programs, such as Integrated Pest Management.
The formal components of the field program are worker protection, certification and training, endangered species protection, water quality activities, and pesticide user education programs such as the Strategic Agricultural Initiative and the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program.
3. What is the contribution of the Pesticide Field Program to the National Pesticide Program?
A strong national pesticide field program is essential to ensure effective implementation of risk mitigation and management decisions made during the registration, reregistration and registration review of pesticides. The pesticide field program’s primary responsibility and contribution to attaining national goals is to ensure that envisioned safeguards developed through statutory mandates, licensing actions, and national policies are translated into real world protection through efficient risk mitigation.
The National Pesticide Program is multi-faceted and constantly evolving. Close coordination, communication, education and training among the public and federal and state government is essential to meeting public health and environmental protection goals. The major frontline activities carried out by the pesticide field program include:
- ensuring competent pesticide use, and appropriate use of alternatives to pesticides, through: educating the public on pesticide risks, policies, and control practices;
- maximizing available flexibility and cost-effectiveness for pesticide users;
- promoting sound and implementable decision-making based on real world data and circumstances;
- strengthening performance accountability; and
- ensuring financial integrity of public resources.
As mentioned earlier, one of the primary values of the pesticide field programs is the effective implementation of national regulatory decisions at the pesticide user level. Through worker protection and certification and training, the pesticide field program protects farm workers and their families from harmful pesticide exposures and poisonings and ensures that critically needed pesticides can remain available while still protecting public health and the environment. The pesticide field program helps to establish and implement measures designed to protect endangered and threatened species and water sources from potential pesticide impacts.
In both urban and agricultural settings, the program helps inform the public regarding pesticide use so that it can make better individual risk mitigation decisions. The field program facilitates sound and targeted regulatory decisions that are more practical and effective in reducing costs and mitigating risk. Information provided by the field program helps EPA evaluate program performance and determine which program components need improving.
Through the pesticide field program, regulatory partners work together to foster protection of public resources and effectively coordinate efforts to advance key priorities. Successful field programs depend on active participation from EPA Regional Offices, states, tribes, and other regulatory partners. This cooperative relationship allows information on areas such as local pesticide use patterns, geological conditions, location of endangered species, or tribal cultural practices to inform the risk assessment process and to guide the National Pesticide Program in making regulatory decisions which are practical and effective.